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Summer Grads Shine

Imagine someone taking the same classes, at the same time, as her own children.  That is just what Nancy Bernabe did to earn her high school diploma. 


Ms. Bernabe, who attended Jurupa Adult School, was one of 47 students to graduate this summer from Jurupa Unified School District.  

The district feted the students, from six schools – Jurupa Valley, Nueva Vista, Patriot and Rubidoux high schools, Rivercrest Preparatory online school and Jurupa Adult School – at a July 16 ceremony at Patriot High attended by JUSD Board President Robert Garcia and Trustees Karen Bradford and Silvia Ortega.  

“It is with heartfelt appreciation that I have this opportunity to accept this graduating class," Trustee Bradford told the students on behalf of the district.  “You have worked so hard to achieve this goal and I am proud of you."   

Superintendent Elliott Duchon added, “Many of you have traveled a difficult road to get here today.  However, through your perseverance you reached the same milestone as our other successful JUSD graduates.  Your future is bright!"  

The senior summer program is open to Jurupa students who need four or fewer classes to complete graduation requirements; typically, 40 students per year enroll. 

This year, the summer students took classes in a range of subjects, from English and math to various electives, said Annamarie Montañez, Ed.D., principal of Jurupa Adult School.  They could take courses online or traditionally via books, four hours a day, five days a week, for up to six weeks as needed to finish assignments and exams.  

Board President Garcia, a summer graduate himself, said: 

“I am always impressed with the dedication it takes to get a diploma after others have already finished.  It would be so easy to just give up.  I attribute much of my success as an adult to persistence and follow through.  Many summer graduates face additional challenges and they persistently take them on.  I am glad that I continued and got my diploma.  When these summer graduates look back, they will be happy they did too."

 Ms. Bernabe, too, modeled grit and persistence and learning without limits.  She remembered how, as a child, she'd had to note in surveys that her parents had not finished high school.  Now that she has children and teens of her own, she said:

“It made me feel sad that they had to also say that their mom had not finished high school.  So I went back to school and at times I was taking the same classes as my kids, sometimes sharing the same textbooks.  Over the summer I looked at their faces when they called my name to get my diploma.  They were so proud of me.  I have always told my kids that they can do anything.  Now they know it is true."  

Some summer graduates told Jurupa educators they would go on to attend UC Riverside, Riverside Community College, or, in one case, real estate school.

​In a speech at the ceremony in July, Dr. Montañez told the Class of 2019, “We are proud of you; we believe in you.  After this evening of celebrating I challenge you to do the following: Go out in the world, set new goals, be kind, and make a difference."