On Tuesday, May 24, the Coombs Alternative Education graduation ceremony took place at the Repplier Park Playhouse Bowl in Banning.
The amphitheater was filled with family and friends of the Coombs Alternative Class of 2022.
The Coombs Alternative Education program includes New Horizon High School, Banning Adult Education and the Banning Independent Studies Program. In all 71 students graduated from the three schools.
With some students wearing necklaces made of flowers, money, braid or other celebratory objects, they all walked down the center aisle of the amphitheater to the “Pomp and Circumstance” march.
The atmosphere was rife with energy, as people cheered, whistled, applauded and set off air horns at the announcement of their graduate.
Melissa Lee, school site administrator for Coombs, provided a lively and congratulatory speech to the out-going class.
“You made it,” said Lee. “Never give up and always chase your dreams.”
One of the graduates was a recipient of a scholarship.
Members of the Soroptimist International group of Beaumont-Banning Louise Zaki and Linda Smith gave New Herizons graduate Breyanna Perez a scholarship for $500.
Perez was beyond words when she stood up to accept the check.
“I didn’t expect this,” said Perez. “Thank you so much.”
Banning Independent Studies graduate Allen Grace Mano gave a heartfelt commencement speech.
“We are gathered here to celebrate a milestone,” said Mano. “Remember to not fear the future. We are now ready to take the next big step after our high school. Don’t stress over your life, it is ahead of you.”
New Horizons graduate Anthony Boozer Jr. gave the second speech of the afternoon.
Once the ceremony ended, the graduates were celebrated with hugs, pictures and other gifts.
Banning Adult Education student Daneisha Smith was excited about her accomplishment.
“I feel good about graduating,” said 32-year-oldSmith. “It’s never to late to finish school.
“After this, I am going to go to college to learn how to start my own business.”
Smith will be working her way to start a clothing line.
Mano said the she was grateful for the help she received at Banning Independent Studies school.
“I am so excited to go college,” said Mano. “I’ll be going to Mt. San Jacinto College. My focus will be on pre-med, then I will take the MCAT.”
Daija McCoy attended Banning Adult School.
Her family seemed elated of her success, as they took several pictures of her with her 2022 necklace and her outfit adorned with yellow and purple flowers.
“I’m very happy to be graduating,” said McCoy. “The school was very helpful. They took me to where I needed to be. The teachers guided me through the tasks that I needed to do.”