Journey to Graduation - Civicorps Grads June 2020

Last week, Civicorps was honored and humbled to share messages of hope and joy as we celebrated the enormous achievements of eight students who received their high school diplomas at our June 10, 2020 graduation ceremony.  We congratulate our Spring 2020 graduating class and celebrate their resilience and accomplishments! Read excerpts below from a few of the powerful graduation speeches they delivered.

Naomi

You have to get up every single day and make sure you never quit on yourself.

I went through a rough road to get here today. The first time I saw Civicorps was on an Instagram ad. I gave it a try and when the orientation came, I stepped into the building and saw the morning circle with all the students sitting down. I wanted to turn around and leave, I felt so scared to be there and in that moment I knew I wasn’t going to graduate because of how insecure I was. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t believe that I could do it.

Civicorps was different from any other school I’ve been to. Every staff member I met was just so nice and supportive, something I didn’t really experience in other schools, and something that I knew I needed in order to keep going. I want to thank every single person who inspired me here and who supported me in ways I didn’t know anyone would ever do.

After I close this chapter, I will open a new one for college. I hope to get a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and also take an EMT course, just in case I change my mind. Hopefully five years from now I will have graduated from college and started my career. Today I can say I believe in myself when in the beginning I did not. Thank you to my friends and family!

Nichelle

I made a promise to myself I’d get it done.

I came to Civicorps last year, with the mindset that anything you start from this day forward you finish, and I did just that. Obtaining my high school diploma was the first thing I have ever done for me, I made a promise to myself I’d get it done. I left a $26 hour job, passed up a Muni job, I traveled hours a day, downsized my living, and survived a pandemic while still fighting racism and police brutality. Man, I deserve this!

Three strengths that I developed at the Corps are patience, working in a team, and academic skills. In the next six months I hope to enroll in college. A year from now I hope to be doing an apprenticeship in construction inspection. Five years from now I hope to be done with college for radiology and have a house. I’d like to thank my whole Civicorps family for making this experience worth it. I couldn’t have done it without you guys. I love y’all.

Jesus

Never give up!

My overall experience at the Corps was nothing but great because I have been learning how to make myself more mature and responsible, and learning new skills.  Before the Corps I used to think that things were easy. Now I know that to get things you want in life you have to have patience. That taught me to have patience for myself and others, and to advocate for myself. Three key strengths I developed while at the Corps are responsibility, respect, and collaboration.

My goal for the next six months are to try to get a union job or work for the City of Oakland. One year from now I hope to be at a more stable place in life. Five years from now I want to be traveling in Paris, France.

To be honest I never thought I would be able to graduate. My hopes were always down. Knowing I’m graduating now keeps giving me energy to do more.  I learned that if you need help, it is always going to be there, you just have to look for it.  I want to thank everybody at the Corps who helped me through my journey here and my family as well for keeping me motivated.  Never give up!

Mirna

I want to be a role model and impact my community.

My overall experience at the Corps has been hard. But I did it. Corps has helped me and supported me mentally, physically, and emotionally.

The teachers & counselors at Civicorps put me into different programs and helped me become a sober person. I had to acknowledge that I needed the help. Civicorps has taught me that I don’t have to rely on anyone else; that I can be independent and look for other kinds of support, instead of waiting on family to help when there are other types of family. Three key strengths I developed are communication, thinking about others besides myself, and advocating for myself.

My goals for the next six months after graduation are to save up for a car, enroll in community college, spend more time with my son, work less, and focus more on school. In five years I would like to have graduated from San Jose University. I want to be a counselor or therapist. I want to be a role model and impact my community. I really strongly believe that I can do that in the future and that’s what makes me want to keep going.

My most memorable experiences at the Corps were all of the staff and teachers.  I am more open about my learning disability now and feel comfortable asking questions when I need to. I am also more open to finding other people who are like me, so I can talk to them and feel more comfortable when I am outside of school.

I would also like to thank my son. He is the reason why I am doing all of this. When I get my masters I want him to be proud of me for pursuing my goals. Thank you.

Will

Failure is not an option.

Being at Civicorps has been a roller coaster to put it lightly. While on that roller coaster, I gained a lot. I got to travel places and see things that I had never been able to see before. I improved academically, like coming from barely being able to keep up in the math class when I first arrived, to assisting my teacher and teaching in Geometry Two class. I’ve impressed staff with my writing skills as well as my public speaking skills. One of the most important things I’ve gained is a new mindset where failure is not an option, where simply trying is not a goal, where success is the only option and outcome.

But just as with all roller coasters, with ups come the downs and with all that I’ve gained, I’ve also lost a lot. Specifically I’ve lost a lot of people, close family.… One loss in particular was more significant than the others. My younger brother, whose picture I’ve brought with me, passed away June 10, 2018. …After talking to a few family members I decided that I would dedicate graduating to my little brother who did not have the chance to do so, and I stand here today with my brother’s picture, smiling on the very day that he left this earth, proud of myself knowing that I fulfilled that promise I made.

I would like to thank everyone who helped me to fulfill that promise, family members, other Corpsmembers, as well as staff. I especially want to thank my children who gave me a reason to want more. Thank you.

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Civicorps December 2019 Graduation

Join us as we honor our talented grads and watch them cross the stage and earn their high-school diploma!Check out photos from our last graduation.

Premier Sponsor: Oakland Athletics
Honor Roll Sponsor: Orion Business Insurance and Risk Management Services, Inc.
Top of Class Sponsor: 42 Inc., Beneficial State Bank, CalNonprofits Insurance Services

 

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A Backcountry Graduation party

The Klamath Crew Celebrates One of Their Own

Earlier this month, we saluted our Spring 2019 graduates as they prepared to walk the stage to receive their high school diplomas.

Here’s a little secret we’ve been keeping: while 19 students graduated on June 6, only 18 walked the stage.

The 19th was working on the Klamath Crew in the Shasta-Trinity Forest. Busy clearing downed trees and widening trail corridors, he missed the graduation ceremony.  He loves to chop firewood during chore time and go on weekend backpacking trips to explore his majestic surroundings. Back in April, we said farewell to this mystery man as he departed for the California Conservation Corps‘ prestigious Backcountry Trails Program. He is none other than Sahsae Robertson, of course!

Though he was physically far from the graduation ceremony, Sahsae was most definitely with us in spirit.  Last Friday, Civicorps’ Job Training Coordinator extraordinaire Steven Addison paid Sahsae a visit to present him with his high school diploma.

The Big Flats Campground Party Zone

The Big Flats Campground at Coffee Creek turned into a festive backcountry graduation party with hamburgers, cake & cookies and rootbeer soda on the menu.  According to Steven, Sahsae’s crew made sure a good time was had by all. Their camp is in a lovely location with a beautiful meadow and surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Steven says Sahsae was “all smiles during his party, playing Coffee Pong and stuffing himself with all the treats folks sent him” via a hand-delivered care package.  His last view of Sashae was of him hiking away at 6 a.m. with his crewmembers for a weekend backpacking trip.  In sum, the man is a happy camper.

What’s the Backcountry Trails Program Like, Anyway?

Lest you think the Backcountry Trails program is ….ahem…a walk in the park, note that Corpsmembers perform physically demanding manual labor in spartan living conditions.  There are no modern conveniences or luxuries (e.g. warm showers, beds, laundry machines, indoor bathrooms and plumbing). Personal electronics are not permitted while in the program.  While in the BCTP, Corpsmembers live and work in remote, isolated settings and personal communication with people outside of the program is extremely limited and infrequent.  In addition to trail work, Corpsmembers participate in regular camp chores, position-related trainings, physical training, daily curriculum and education, environmental awareness, cooperative living skills, and exploration of surrounding wilderness areas. In short, it’s an extraordinary experience, and it’s one during which a graduation party with an outside visitor is a rare treat!

Sahsae will continue serving in the Backcountry Trails Program until late September.  We’re so proud of him, and we can’t wait to see what new adventures he’ll embark upon with his diploma in hand!

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High School Trains Young Adults for Life

Published on School Library Journal by Linda Jacobson on January 21, 2016

High School Trains Young Adults for Life / Civicorps

During her Freshman year Roxanna Elias decided she wasn’t suited for a traditional high school experience. Things seemed chaotic at two different California high schools she attended before trying to earn her diploma through a GED program in Richmond, CA. She felt isolated and didn’t think anyone else shared her struggles.

But as soon as she enrolled in Civicorps Academy, a unique high school attached to a job training program in Oakland, CA, she realized that it didn’t have to be a lonely, frustrating experience. “I saw a big change and I saw the progression really fast,” says 19-year-old Elias. “I can actually become somebody.”

[theme_button type=”theme_button_inverted medium” link=”http://www.slj.com/2016/01/industry-news/civicorps-a-california-high-school-that-trains-for-jobs-and-life/”]Read the Article →[/theme_button]

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December Graduation!

December Graduation / CivicorpsGraduation Day

On December 18th, our 18 graduates crossed the stage to earn their high school diploma as the crowd roared with applause for achieving this milestone. Click here to view pictures from the joyful day. Also, check our portrait gallery of our graduates!

“When I stepped onto that stage and looked out to see room packed with people cheering for me, I was blown away! I’ve never felt more supported.”
– Civicorps graduate

Donate today to support our graduates as they take the next step or enrolling in college and securing internships or union apprenticeships!

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6 Students' Journey to Graduation

Students’ Journey

[sg_popup id=”1″][/sg_popup]On December 18th, over 15 students will graduate with their high school diploma. Read how Civicorps helped 6 students reach this milestone and what’s next for these successful youth!

6 Students' Journey to Graduation / CivicorpsDelarrion
Civicorps helped me earn a high school diploma and gave me the opportunity to lead a crew. Through Civicorps, I landed an outstanding job at Schnitzer Steel, where I am working my way to the top.

 

6 Students' Journey to Graduation / CivicorpsTyneisha
Civicorps has allowed me to continue my education and make a better life for my baby. After I graduate, I am going to community college. I want to study nursing to become a CNA.

6 Students' Journey to Graduation / CivicorpsLouis
Civicorps has made me a better person. It has made me feel more grown, and more accomplished. I feel more motivated because of the staff and everyone who supported me here. After graduation, I am thinking about applying to work for the City of Oakland.

6 Students' Journey to Graduation / CivicorpsTramicsha
Civicorps changed my life. I showed up everyday, I did everything that they told me to do, I was encouraged, and I followed through on everything I wanted to do and said I would do at the beginning. Now, to see myself about to graduate is very exciting and overwhelming but it’s a great success and I’m glad I finally reached it. After Civicorps, I plan to continue to go to college to get my nursing degree.

6 Students' Journey to Graduation / CivicorpsJerome
Civicorps helped me see my real goals and kept my mind focused on them. After graduation, I would like to get a job with CalTrans, or Alameda County Flood Control and build my skills.

6 Students' Journey to Graduation / CivicorpsAlex
I used to depend on other people a lot more, but Civicorps has made me a more independent person. I also really like helping people now. After graduation, I plan on attending college.

Join us for the joyous celebration on December 18th — RSVP today for this free event!

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