Oceanside CA— Former students from El Camino High School and Oceanside High School received their Honorary High School Diplomas at the Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) Board of Education meeting, Tuesday night.
These students, for whatever reason, were not able to complete their studies at their high schools but went on to complete their GED or adult diploma at MiraCosta College.
“This diploma really means a lot to me.” said Bryn Simeta, “I have a son that started kindergarten last year. Now he can look up to me and say; If my dad can do it, I can do it.” Bryn originally went to OHS and finished up his high school work last May at MiraCosta College.
This was the first Honorary Diploma ceremony for the district. Ten Honorary Diplomas were issued. The recipient’s range in age from their early 20’s to their mid-50’s and include four from El Camino High School and six from Oceanside High School.
“This is a great opportunity for me. I finished up my high school at MiraCosta College but it’s great to have it from my high school. I’m putting this on my resume.” said Efren Rios.
Samuel Ramirez was part of the Class of 1982 at OHS but finished his requirements in the MiraCosta College Adult Education Program in 1984. “I got the diploma from college but it’s really nice to have the diploma from my high school.”
“This is life changing.” said Katherine Gonzalez, “I’ve been waiting for this for over 37 years.” Katherine was the catalyst behind the OUSD Honorary Degree Program. Kathy began her education at OHS, transferred to ECHS and would have been part of the Class of 1979.
“I bet you thought this day would never come.” Dr. Duane Coleman, Superintendent at OUSD, said to Kathy. Dr. Coleman explained how Katherine had seen the Oceanside Promise video and called him. “She told me her story. How she was bullied. I and many others thought Kathy had graduated from El Camino High School. I was stunned to learn she hadn’t.”
Kathy wanted to go back to ECHS to finish up “She was serious. She wanted to physically go back and finish for her mom. We did some research and found out that Kathy had aged out. When you’re 27, you can’t do it.” Dr. Coleman said jokingly, “Would you be open to an honorary diploma? She jumped all over it.” said Dr. Coleman.
The program was only open to people who finished who got a GED or Adult Education requirements at MiraCosta or Palomar Colleges.
Dr. Coleman explained how he ran into one of his former students who’s husband was excited about the program and had finished his GED. “I said, That’s great. Our next round, you can get your honorary diploma. He said; Dr. Coleman. I can’t. I got mine in prison. I asked if we open it up, would you be interested? He said; Absolutely.” The program is now open to all OUSD students who have a GED or finished Adult Education requirements.
“No telling what this program means to these people to their families. This program is really about the city of Oceanside and making Oceanside better a place.” said Dr. Coleman.
Anthony Diaz (ECHS)
Lazaro Flores (ECHS)
Margie Flores (OHS)
Katherine Gonzales (ECHS)
Marcos Moreno (ECHS)
Samuel Ramirez (OHS)
Efren Rios (OHS)
Bryn Simeta (OHS)
Dinorah Tajalle (OHS)
To apply for the program visit the OUSD wesbsite http://www.oside.k12.ca.us/honorarydiploma