By Janice Eck
Photos by Janice Eck
(Adelanto)– On Friday, May 22nd, Adelanto High School (AHS) held their very first graduation ceremony at their own Julian Weaver Stadium. It was a cold and windy evening. Graduates and staff held down their caps; gowns were blowing effortlessly in the wind. Attendees bundled up in layers, gloves, and hats, but nothing would stop the proud families and friends from watching their loved ones take the stage to receive their diplomas.
It was an arduous journey to get to this point. So many of the graduating seniors spent their freshmen year as Silverado Hawks, but the time came when they were moved to the Seneca site in anticipation of the present location’s opening. Many of these seniors went to the board meetings and voiced their desire to attend the newly built campus. For the 2014-2015 year, they finally got their wish.
The first graduation ceremony of AHS meant more than students simply taking the stage to receive their diplomas in their burgundy caps and gowns. Many of the students are from underprivileged, low socio-economic backgrounds, but have fervent plans to overcome the odds. Many of the graduates are definitely going somewhere with majors like chemistry and technical engineering. Many were accepted to colleges like UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State San Francisco. The valedictorian, Daisy Alvarado, an English Language Learner, is going to New York City to St. John’s University. There were also students who had military on the mind since day one and are all ready set to go soon after graduation.
The support from staff and faculty of course, have much to do with the success of these students. Adelanto comes with a certain stereotype, but the students and the staff are working hard to battle that stereotype and prove the rest of the High Desert wrong, as Ebony Purcell, AHS Principal told High Desert Daily, “It is our desire to inhabit a culture of excellence. We are not ‘okay.’ We are not mediocre students. We are not mediocre staff. We have an excellent program when it comes to AP and Honors classes. I can say to the credit of my staff that everyone really has a heart for the kids. We’ve developed a family atmosphere where excellence is expected and anything less will not be tolerated.”
The students and staff worked together for the same goal, meshing and bonding with one another all to benefit the students, as Purcell further explained, “I can say to the credit of my staff that everyone really has a heart for the kids. I come in early and stay late and I’m not the only person here. We’ve been here on Saturdays helping kids prepare for AP exams and makeup labs; being a very good family that some of the kids need. I really do feel like that’s one of the things we’ve done – develop a family atmosphere.”
Yes, the Class of 2015 is the first of many to come for Adelanto High School, but with the support the students of AHS have from staff and faculty, they are well underway to overcome the odds as well as the stereotype. They may very well be on the way to being one of the best schools in the High Desert.