Military- and college-bound graduates from Jordan High School are being honored once again for their academic achievements.
On Monday, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and other Ninth District officials unveiled street banners showcasing the names of the Jordan High School seniors who are attending college or pursuing a career in the military. The graduates' names are showcased alongside the name of the college or military branch they're set to attend in the fall.
Jordan is on Atlantic Avenue near Artesia Boulevard, in the Ninth City Council district. The banners will be placed along Atlantic Avenue between South Street and Artesia Boulevard as well as between Butler Avenue and Orange Street.
"These (banners) will represent graduates attending university and joining the armed forces," Richardson said. "This acknowledges all of their efforts."
Richardson added that many of the students come from underprivileged backgrounds, and the banners are a public reminder of what the young scholars have accomplished.
"This is our third year doing this," Richardson said. "It really changes the narrative here."
By narrative, Richardson said he means that he hopes the banners will continue to be a reminder for other youth in the community, encouraging them to focus on what can be achieved because their peers were able to achieve it.
He added that other districts have contacted his office commemorating the banner project as well as expressed interest in honoring students in their own schools with banners.
Long Beach Unified School District board vice president Megan Kerr said that the event also is a reminder that the success of students is heavily impacted by other members of the community.
Before unveiling the street banners, the seniors visited elementary and middle schools in North Long Beach, including McKinley and Grant Elementary schools and Hamilton Middle School.
"The idea of this is that they (the students) didn't get to this point alone," Kerr said. "They get to see former teachers and have the opportunity to inspire younger kids."
And the seniors showed nothing but enthusiasm during the event as they posed for photos with the banners that indicated where they're off to in the fall.
Adah Perez, former intern at Richardson's office, said that seeing her name on the banner made her feel accomplished.
"I am really proud," she said. "I want to set an example for youth in North Long Beach."
Perez is set to attend University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in the fall and plans to major in business. She hopes to return to North Long Beach eventually to open a youth center.
"After I finish school, I plan to move back here (Long Beach)," Perez said. "I want to show the younger kids here that they can do this too."
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.