In an inspiring ceremony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, more than 280 students and 2000 well-wishers participated in a commencement ceremony for students graduating from the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) alternative education programs, juvenile court schools, and special education programs.
The annual event, sponsored by the LA County Office of Education and the County Probation Department, celebrated the academic achievements of truly remarkable high school teens, who have persevered through delinquency, behavioral problems, substance abuse, and pregnancy.
The words of this year’s valedictorian, Roman Guerra, who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) moved those in attendance.
“I have a purpose. I have a vision. I have faith. Tomorrow I am going to make a difference in this world,” said Guerra who reminded graduates, “If you fall, get up learn from your mistakes and approach problems differently.”
Overall, 633 students will graduate this year from the LACOE-led alternative education programs, juvenile court & community schools, and special education programs.