There are similar events that take place for students who are a part of the African American and Armenian America communities. It feels sweet to be recognized when surrounded by your family, friends, and community members.
Each gathering has unique attributes; intersections of cultural objects, food, language, and program content that have special meaning to those gathered. Among the unique aspects to Sunday's event will be the singing of multiple national anthems, the distribution of stoles and the awarding of the Mark A. Leon scholarship.
Mark, like many of the students who will be attending, grew up without a lot of money but with a lot of ganas. Through this will to succeed he became a mechanical engineer. He was a devoted dad, loving husband, and committed citizen servant. He served on several city boards and commissions; eventually he ran for council. He passed away two years ago - some years shy of 50.
We call our event a recognition because some of the students who attend may still need a few units or need to pass the CAHSEE before they can formally graduate; they may not get a chance to walk in their high school graduation ceremonies.
For some students and their families it offers an opportunity to recognize a job well done. For all students it is an expression of hope for their future and for the good work they may do in all the days of their lives.
Pictured here are: Mark Leon, Daisy Chilin, Stella Murga, and me.