As the nation reeled in shock from ., a high-school graduation ceremony went off as scheduled at the Napa County Office of Education.
"It would not be fair for these kids, who worked very hard, not to have their celebration," said Superintendent of Schools Barbara Nemko, who presided over the noontime ceremony.
After a moment of silence "for the children who will never have this day," Nemko said, she blinked back her tears and awarded diplomas to 21 young men and women who have successfully completed high school through the county's court and community schools program.
"We had a full house, and a very enthusiastic crowd, cheering and really happy for their kids," Nemko said.
One soon-to-be graduate showed his mastery of a task that has daunted many an older man, deftly diapering his baby son just moments before receiving his diploma (see photo).
Many of the new grads from Chamberlain and Liberty high schools also received scholarships from Kiwanis Club of Napa to continue their educations. For more than 20 years, teacher Karen Garcia said, the club has worked with the county office of education's high school programs.
The Chamberlain High School program, serving students who are on formal probation, is run collaboratively by the county office of education and the Napa County Probation Department. "This 'wrap-around' model provides intensive support from a variety of agencies in an effort to help students become successful both in school and in the community," according to the NCOE website.
Students at Liberty High School have been expelled from other schools in Napa County or have been referred by the probation department.
"We are very proud of our graduates!" wrote Sandra Leveque, who directs the county's court and community schools program, in a Napa Valley Patch comment.
"It takes a lot of strength to overcome obstacles and succeed in spite of them," Leveque said.
Do you have a message for the new graduates? Tell them in the comments below.
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