It was a bittersweet day for more than 50 students from Renaissance High School after they received their hard earned diplomas on Tuesday evening at the Mello Center in Watsonville.
Loving family members, close friends and dedicated faculty nearly filled the 778-seat capacity theater to witness the future of the world make one the biggest leaps into their promising young lives.
But before Principal Artemisa Cortez and the rest of the education staff handed out the ultimate prize of the night a very special guest speaker by the name of George Ow gave some inspirational words of advice to all the graduates that plan to move on to college.
“Use all your energy…,” said Ow, a well-known Watsonville businessman and huge proponent of education. “Start now, start reading the books now.”
“Shake up the world a little bit. Make us all proud," he said.
And thanks to Ow, 20 students from Tuesday’s commencement received the worth $500 to help with any upcoming school finances.
A short video was also shown to display the talents and skills that was taught to some of the digital media students at Renaissance High students. The school, a continuation high school in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, draws a unique mix of students to its San Andreas Road campus.
After it was all said and done, the graduates made their way to the main lobby with huge smiles and embraced any open arms directed their way.
Jose Fernandez was part of the graduating class and had this to say after ceremony.
“I’m feeling real proud of myself,” said Fernandez. “I’m pretty excited.”
“They [Renaissance High] gave us support and a second chance. It’s a very good place to go to school for another opportunity," he added.