South El Monte High Holds First Pledge to Graduate Ceremony
by Anne Donofrio-Holter
July 2, 2014 • 1,616 views
South El Monte
South El Monte High School hosted two ceremonies on graduation day – one, for its senior class and the other, a “Pledge to Graduate” ceremony for fourth graders from Potrero Elementary, New Temple Elementary and Monte Vista Elementary Schools.
Spearheaded by South El Monte High School Assistant Principal Maria-Elena Navarro, the pledge ceremony was not only a first for the high school, but for the El Monte Union High School District as well.
“We wanted to reach out in a bigger way to our feeder/partner schools,” said Navarro. “We have the responsibility of ensuring these future South El Monte High School students become proficient scholars while they are with us. The earlier we instill in them the importance of high school and college planning, the better.”
“We are extremely pleased to start college awareness early with these fourth graders and to garner their pledges to graduate from South El Monte High School,” said Superintendent Nick Salerno who attended the ceremony.
Following a performance by the South El Monte High School drill team, Monte Vista, New Temple and Potrero students Eliana Ynequez, Sue Esparza and Martha Ramirez, respectively, spoke on their educational and career goals.
The approximately 300 students then raised his or her right hand and stated, “As a student, I pledge to believe in myself, do the work it takes to graduate from high school with my class and seek help whenever I need it.”
After the pledge, and with the seniors who would graduate later that evening cheering them on, the fourth graders wearing t-shirts provided by South El Monte High School which read “Class of 2022, SEMHS Believes in You!, walked across the very stage they will walk across when they receive their high school diplomas eight years from now.
As the students exited the stage, they were greeted by El Monte Union High School District Board of Trustees member Ricardo Padilla, Principal Oscar Cisneros and other high school staff, handing out certificates to remind them of the pledge they made to stay in school and do their best.
“It is important to start having conversations about high school graduation and college at a very early age,” said Cisneros. “The speeches from the fourth grade students were amazing and inspiring. It was also great that the seniors were able to experience the event because it helps put things in perspective for them. I hope this pledge event becomes a tradition that expands in scope.”
“I am looking forward to attending this high school,” said one fourth grader.
“I am going to work hard and get good grades,” said another, who already had aspirations to become a lawyer.
“The fourth graders were enthusiastic, well behaved and fun to work with,” said Navarro. “I am grateful to their principals for supporting this event and to the Herff Jones Company for its sponsorship.”
“We look forward to the Class of 2022 becoming Eagles in the fall of 2018,” added Salerno.