Helen Hunt Jackson/CPHS/A.C.E. graduates celebrate endings and beginnings

The graduation marks the end of College Prep High School

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
The students in the combined Class of 2017 are excited to start their new lives post-high school.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

It’s the end of an era for these students: On May 23 at the Ramona Bowl, Helen Hunt Jackson School, College Prep High School and A.C.E. Academy walked together for the last time as they received their diplomas and acknowledged their newfound freedom. But this graduation was also significant for College Prep High, as for them it was their final graduation after 10 years as a charter school.
A total of 88 graduates gathered in the bowl to celebrate this decidedly bittersweet occasion. In addition to academic regalia, several students wore green cords in recognition of serving 40 or more hours of volunteer service in our community.
Salutatorian Ruth Amaro recognized the challenges this outgoing class faced: “Each and every one of us can tell you it wasn’t easy; we didn’t all experience high school the same, but it doesn’t change the fact that we all put in hard work and effort in order to be here.” Amaro then thanked her family and friends for helping her get to this point.
Valedictorian Calysto Patrick expressed her gratitude to those that helped her get through her struggles: “I’d like to thank Google, Wikipedia and whoever created copy-and-paste. And I copy-and-pasted that into my speech! And to my fellow graduates: I want to congratulate you, because you did it.”
HHJ ASB advisor Jason Chrest gave the outgoing grads this advice: “Find your passion! You see, if you can identify that which can set your heart on fire, your path will be plain and your choices clear. You’ll meet obstacles, but nothing can obstruct you from achieving your goals unless you allow it.”
Which is something with which HUSD Superintendent Christi Barrett agrees: “You will find that much of your success will be determined by your mindset and attitude. I am a firm believer in that the only limitations we have in life are those that we choose to impose on ourselves.”
Principal Frank Green explains CPHS’ closing like so: “We had two charters in the district, so we’ve agreed to have one project-based charter in the district…over at the Western Center.”
While CPHS will be no more, the Helen Hunt Jackson Independent Study concept shall live on: “Nothing really changes, I just don’t have to have two schools running simultaneously,” according to Green.
So today while these seniors celebrated the end of their high school careers, and their high school, they also got to celebrate the first day of the rest of their lives. And for that, they are owed hearty congratulations.

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