On Tuesday, I was privileged to stand on-stage and shake the hands of 14 Orange County Rescue Mission residents as they received their high school diplomas.  For many, this was a very emotional moment – one they thought they would never experience because of years of  hardships, mistakes and hopelessness.  But on this day, they beat the odds and achieved what they had believed to be impossible.
Our partnership with Tustin Unified School District is what makes it possible for the Rescue Mission to offer high school diploma and completion programs. We appreciate the district’s  support and the vision they share for helping homeless adults get the education they need to achieve self-sufficiency through a WASC accredited program.  TUSD’s commitment to partnership begins at the top with Board of Education President Mr. Jonathan Abelove, Superintendent Dr. Gregory Franklin, and Chief Academic Officer, Mrs. Kathie Nielsen.  A special thanks to Tustin Adult & Hill View School faculty, Principal Tim O’Donoghue, Assistant Principal Dr. Dustin O’Malley, Adult Education Coordinator Mrs. Virginia Burrows and Counselor Mrs. Hannah Pickerill for their support.
One of this year’s graduates is Miguel Rodriguez.  Miguel’s rough childhood led to a chaotic adolescence in and out of juvenile detention centers.  But two years ago, Miguel found out he was going to be a father, and from then on things were different.  Motivated by his son and the desire to give him a better life, Miguel made the decision to go back to school for his high school diploma.

Please click here to read the article for more of Miguel’s inspiring story.


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