“For those of you who didn’t think going to school was important or finishing your program wouldn’t change your life, hear my story.”
Fernando’s words rang out as he gave his speech as valedictorian of his graduating class at the most recent Tustin Adult School graduation ceremony. His classmates, including 14 other Rescue Mission students, nodded in agreement – they too have a newfound appreciation for the dedication and hard work it takes to finish their education.
After months of hard work and years of hardships, mistakes and hopelessness, these graduates are finally walking across the stage to receive their diplomas. And now, rather than facing a future of fear and uncertainty, they are filled with joy and hope for their future.
“But we did not do this alone,” Fernando shared. “There was always someone there to help us when the work got hard. Someone to guide us, when we needed direction, to push us when we needed a push. Yes…our teachers, fellow classmates, family members, spouses and most importantly for me was God. For me, God was always there, every step of the way helping me to complete my goals. I relied on His strength, His guidance, and His grace that made it possible for me to be here as a graduate.”
With the help of community support and by the strength and grace of God, 15 graduates completed their high school education and received their diplomas, and another 2 graduates completed their Adult Education through our Mission University program! And because this program runs year-round, even more Rescue Mission residents are able to receive the resources and support they need to improve their level of education throughout the year.
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 James Laird and Superintendent Dr. Gregory Franklin. A special thanks to Tustin Adult & Tustin Connect High School faculty, Principal Tim O’Donahue, Adult Education Coordinator, Will Neddersen, and Lead Teacher Jennifer Vorck for their support.
Thank you to Tustin Unified School District for this incredible opportunity that means so much to the men and women at the Rescue Mission. And congratulations to our 17 Rescue Mission high school graduates on your hard-earned achievement!