Adult School Celebrates its 72 Graduates

In front of teachers, family and friends, students walked across the stage after surpassing many obstacles

Fully clad in yellow-and-blue gowns, students from the celebrated their graduation with a ceremony at ’s Theater on Thursday.

“After having my baby, I felt that it was important to get my education in and for me to be a role model for my daughter,” said graduate Karina De Dios, whose daughter graduates from preschool next week.

De Dios, 20, was a sophomore at Los Altos High School when she became pregnant with her daughter, who is now 5. Her education was put on hold, but she's pleased she was able to complete her adult school coursework.

“It was hard, but I did it,” she said. “I was working two jobs and being a single mom.” 

Now De Dios aspires to receive her college degree from Santa Clara University.  

MVLA Adult School helps adult learners acquire their High School Diploma or General Education Development (GED).

“This school and district are amazing,” said Laura Stefanski, director of adult education. She has worked in the MVLA School District since 1990 and said it is extremely rewarding working in the GED program.

At Thursday’s ceremony, 14 graduates received their high school diploma and 58 who got their GED.

“It’s a great accomplishment, and I am so proud of myself,” GED graduate Ruth Alvarez said. “I am so happy that I had this opportunity.”

Alvarez’s daughter, along with other family and friends all attended to support her. She received the MVLA Adult Education Staff Scholarship and now hopes to learn accounting.

Born in the Ivory Coast, Africa and raised France, Seydou Traore, 21, said he was unable to finish high school in France, and when he received his visa, Traore chose to come to the U.S.

“When I came to the U.S., I was moving from state to state,” he said. “But when I came to California and knew I would be here for a while, I decided to finish my high school.”

It took Traore seven months to obtain his GED. He said he wants to get a college degree, and will soon start at De Anza College. As a professional tennis player, he has already talked to the coach there about being on the team.

“I always felt it was important for me to go back to school and finish,” said Luis Pacheco, 29, who received his GED. “It makes me feel more satisfied and more complete and makes me feel that I have more opportunity.”

His 6-year-old daughter, who was unable to attend, was his reason for going back. He said he wanted to set an example for her.

“It is not important when you finish, but that you finish,” Pacheco said.


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