OUSD's Class of 2016 Community Ready Graduates
Last week was OUSD's Community Ready Graduation Ceremony. It was my first time going, and I was super impressed with students' senior projects and delighted to be part of celebrating their success.
The students who participate in this graduation ceremony are nominated by their teachers. They present on their senior projects, which cover a wide range of topics. I noticed a big focus on race, gentrification and mental health among the social problems that students chose to examine this year. And one of them also received a scholarship from All City Council, the body of elected student government representatives from across the city.
Kiah Killens presented on her work at MetWest High School
Kiah Killens' project was born of her desire for more leadership among the female students at her school. She built her own curriculum for a class that she created and taught for other young women at her school. It covered relationship violence, sexual health and many other topics.
Director Aimee Eng and I with the All City Council Scholarship Winner Zaria Monay Jackson Woods, from Fremont High School.
The winner of the All City Council Scholarship was Zaria Monay Jackson Woods, from Fremont High School. Her project was about student voice - what allows for students to have a voice in their school, what student voice can be used to do to improve schools, and she specifically looked at organizing among Fremont High School students out of concern that Fremont High would be converted into a charter school. It was really clear that Fremont is educating the next generation of community organizers, and I'm proud to see the social justice orientation and leadership of the students there.
I'm so pleased that OUSD recognizes that our job is not just to ensure that students can read, write and find jobs. We are also responsible for helping to create citizens who will not just be active in their communities, but tackle the biggest problems facing their communities, and provide leadership to address them. I can't wait to meet next year's community-ready graduates!