We are celebrating with them!
While we celebrate every young person who has worked hard to achieve their school degrees, some of our young people have done it in the face of insurmountable odds. For these students, we clap that much harder, we cheer that much louder and we amplify their stories with the hope that another young person in a similar circumstance can know that they too, can make it.
Such is the case for a recent group of more than 150 Los Angeles County foster care youth, ABC 7 reports. The students, all dressed in Black and gold, recently came together at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA to celebrate their graduation from high school. A momentous occasion, the crowd was filled with therapists, caregivers, social workers, and family and friends who came to celebrate their accomplishments. Many of the students reflected on their journey, grateful to have made it to this milestone.
“My mom she struggled with certain mental health issues and she was not able to take care of me and my brother properly, and I just feel my experience with that could help other people who were in similar situations,” said graduate Adoniah Freeman.
Excited, Adoniah said she is ecstatic about what’s next for her life while other students reflected on the role their support systems played in the success of their academic careers.
“My friends, my siblings, they played a big role in my life because when I got taken away, I felt like I didn’t have anybody. And then as my siblings grew older, they guided me,” added student Amanda Gaona.
Each of the graduates maintained a minimum 2.8 GPA and they’re all headed to a college or university in the fall. With only 58% of foster youth in California graduating from high school, their accomplishments are that much more impressive. As California works overtime to support its most marginalized residents, success stories like these and other former foster youth in the state, are becoming that much more common.
“I would say to my youngest self it will be alright. It will be some trials, a lot of tribulations, and many hardships. But you’re going to make it through,” Burrell previously told reporters of her own journey.
The graduates are in a similar position and hope to serve as an inspiration to others who may have similar experiences. While they are heading into their next phase and there are sure to be trials ahead, they were encouraged via video at the ceremony by comedian Tiffany Haddish, who was also a former foster care youth.
“If you never give up and you believe in what you’re doing, if you truly believe in it, you can achieve anything,” Haddish told the students.
Congratulations to all of the graduates. Here’s wishing you an abundance of blessings in the next chapter!
Cover photo: Over 150 LA County foster youth have graduated high school and are headed to college/Photo Courtesy of ABC 7