By Staff Reporter (Coyote Chronicle)
With diplomas in hand and hearts full of ambition, the remarkable Class of 2023 fearlessly strides forward, ready to seize the endless possibilities that await them. Photo Credit: Upward Bound
In a poignant celebration of achievement and potential, the distinguished Class of 2023 from California State University, San Bernardino’s (CSUSB) Upward Bound Program recently marked a significant milestone. Honoring 22 graduating seniors who have successfully completed the program, this event showcased not only the tenacity and dedication of these remarkable students but also underscored the transformative power of education.
As these newly-minted graduates stand at the precipice of their futures, they carry with them not just diplomas but also an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, a resilience forged in adversity, and a burning desire to effect positive change. Their journey has only just begun, but the promise they hold is undeniable, illuminating a path towards a brighter tomorrow.
A Gala Celebration of Achievement
On May 25, 2023, the CSUSB campus bore witness to a gala celebration, as the graduates and their families gathered for a memorable dinner ceremony and an array of activities befitting the occasion. The atmosphere brimmed with excitement and anticipation as the graduates transitioned from being Upward Bound students to esteemed alumni.
The evening’s proceedings commenced with an inspiring address from Dalia Hernandez, the devoted Director of Upward Bound. Hernandez articulated that this graduation wasn’t merely a farewell but a gateway to an extraordinary journey where alumni come together, support one another, and invest in the next generation from the select six schools in San Bernardino County. Her words resonated deeply, encapsulating the essence of Upward Bound’s mission to uplift students from diverse backgrounds.
Armed with knowledge, resilience, and a passion for making a difference, these extraordinary graduates are poised to leave their mark on the world, embarking on a journey where dreams become realities and new horizons beckon. As they step onto the threshold of the future, their unwavering determination and unwavering spirit ignite a flame of hope, illuminating the path toward a brighter tomorrow. Together, they embrace the challenges, embrace the opportunities, and embrace the boundless potential that lies ahead, united in their pursuit of greatness. Photo Credit: Upward Bound
Mentors of Transformation
Throughout the evening, the graduates had the opportunity to reflect on their personal journeys and express their heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated staff who had been unwavering pillars of support. Senior Speaker Karla Ortega, representing Apple Valley High School, eloquently encapsulated the collective sentiment of the graduates, emphasizing that challenges were stepping stones toward greatness, not barriers to success.
Leslie Lopez, another graduate, shared her transformative journey within the program. Initially seeking to improve her social skills, Lopez recounted how Upward Bound had pushed her beyond her comfort zone, unveiling her true potential. Her story was a testament to the program’s ability to inspire personal growth.
Conrad Valdez, an alumnus and former program participant, provided a unique perspective. He highlighted how Upward Bound had become his second home, instilling in him a sense of belonging and self-assuredness. Valdez underscored the collective impact of staff members, leaders, and fellow students, attributing his personal growth to the collaborative efforts of the Upward Bound community.
The Upward Bound Staff, a beacon of support and inspiration, stands united and poised to welcome the new alumni into the fold. With smiles that radiate warmth and hearts filled with pride, these dedicated mentors have played an integral role in nurturing the dreams and aspirations of graduating seniors. As they gather in unity, their unwavering commitment to empowering the next generation shines brightly, lighting the way for these young trailblazers as they embark on their transformative journey as Upward Bound alumni. Together, they celebrate the milestones achieved and the limitless potential that lies ahead, symbolizing the enduring bond between mentors and mentees, and the power of education to shape a brighter future. Photo Credit: Upward Bound
A Network of Opportunities
Director Dalia Hernandez, in her closing remarks, encouraged the new alumni to embrace the extensive network and opportunities at their disposal. She urged them to recognize that those around them could one day become employers or introduce them to potential business partners. Hernandez emphasized the myriad exciting events and robust social networks available to alumni, making staying connected and reaping lifelong membership benefits effortless.
The Upward Bound Program’s steadfast commitment to empowering students from diverse backgrounds has undeniably played a pivotal role in shaping the futures of these exceptional individuals. Equipped with invaluable experiences and an enduring sense of community, the Upward Bound alumni are poised to make a significant impact as they continue their journey toward personal and professional success. Through their accomplishments and contributions, they will carry forward the Upward Bound spirit, empowering future generations to reach new heights. The legacy of the program is secure in the capable hands of these extraordinary graduates.