Last Monday, Jordan High School — in partnership with Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Megan Kerr, Board of Education board member — unveiled a new set of banners that recognizes the accomplishments of the North Long Beach seniors.
Those banners include the students' names and where they're headed in the fall: a four-year or two-year university, as well as the armed services.
"We've been doing this for four years now," Richardson said during the ceremony. Jordan is in his Ninth District. "You guys were freshmen the first year that we hung up those banners."
That first banner unveiling happened in 2014. Richardson added that the ceremony was even more special this year because the students receiving the recognition had witnessed the ceremony evolve throughout their high school career.
"You guys remember when we did the banners?" Richardson asked. "How many of you looked at those banners and said 'my name is going to be on those one day?'"
While sitting together in their caps and gowns, graduates cheered as the name of their future colleges were mentioned by Richardson. Cheers from CSULB and Cal State Dominguez Hills (the Vice Mayor's alma mater) roared the loudest.
"Over the last four years, I have been a part of an environment that celebrates the accomplishments of high school students," Marco Zaldana, graduating senior and former high school intern at the Vice Mayor's office, said. "When I was a freshman, I recall feeling a sense of euphoria and inspiration every time I walked down Artesia Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue with the banners shining above me."
Before the banner unveiling ceremony, the students spent their morning visiting North Long Beach elementary and middle schools. The graduates were in their caps and gowns and briefly celebrated their accomplishments with the youngsters.
"It was so wonderfully emotional to see them connect with the kids and for some of them to walk through the halls of their old schools," Kerr said. "There's staff who have seen these kids through some things, and it's important for our staff to realize that when they send them (the students) off somewhere else, they do succeed."
Aside from the banners, six students were awarded with the Allen Alevy Students Empowerment Scholarship.
Those students are MaeSean T. Misher (My Brother’s Keeper Award, CSULB); Brandon M. Minton (Community Leaders Award, CSULB); Marco F. Zaldana (Community Leaders Award, UC Berkeley); Brianna I. Contreras-Tejeda (Community Leaders Award, UC Santa Barbara); Destiny T. Clark (Future Entrepreneurs Award, San Francisco State University); and Carlos M. Galvez (Future Entrepreneurs Award, San Francisco State University).
The banners will be on display on the light posts along Atlantic Avenue between South Street and Artesia Boulevard, and between Butler Avenue and Orange Avenue throughout the summer.
Jordan High School's official graduation ceremony happened on Tuesday at LBCC's Veterans Memorial Stadium.
For information, call the office at (562) 423-1471, ext. 2152.
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.