Eight S. William Able Community School seniors in the class of 2019 received their high school diplomas this month. Four eighth graders were promoted to high school.
The school, named after retired Colusa County Superior Court Judge Bill Abel, has graduated 29 seniors since it opened four years ago, and promoted 16 eighth graders, said Colusa County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Maria Arvizu-Espinoza.
The commencement exercise for the small school was held at the Education Village, in Williams, on June 12, hosted by the Colusa County Office of Education.
The graduation – the last of the season – was smaller than the others, but was nevertheless formal with graduating seniors in white robes and tasseled mortarboards, and eighth graders in black ropes, regally stepping across the stage to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
The ceremony was well attended by the graduates’ family and friends.
While most of the students were placed in Community School by the court as part of probation or following expulsion from their home districts, others chose to attend on their own.
The goal of the program is to improve the students’ ability to learn, work cooperatively with others, and succeed in completing their education or successfully reintegrating into their public schools, officials said.
Colusa County Superintendent of Schools Mike West, who spoke at the graduation, told the students they are prepared for the future and encouraged them to step into a world they find exciting, dream big, aim high, be responsible for the choices they make, and to persevere.
“I hope you won’t be dissuaded from all you want in life,” West said.
Promoting from the eighth grade were Robert Fantl, Eli Green-Miller, Autumn Humphrey, and Meia Rodrigues, from Colusa Unified School District.
Graduating seniors were Elizabeth Becerra, Andrea Jaramillo, Apolinar Pulido, and Maria Velasquez, from Colusa; Bryan Burgess and Armando Oretga, from Williams; and Rachelle Klimper, from Pierce.
Many of the graduates plan to continue their education.
Velasquez, who finished her high school requirements in October but came back for her graduation ceremony, is already attending beauty school in Texas. Klimper plans to attend college with the goal of becoming a teacher. Ortega plans to go to college to study criminal justice.
In February, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the accrediting commission for schools, determined the S. William Abel Community School meets the ACS WASC criteria for accreditation. The school serves students in seventh through 12th grade.
The Colusa County Office of Education also serves adults of all ages who want to return to school for a high school diploma. ■