Brianna Voller was both nervous and scared when she heard her name called Friday morning to get her diploma at the Manteca Adult School graduation ceremony.
But there was also a part of her that was excited about what her future holds for her and what she gets to do now that she’s a high school graduate as she shared the joy of the experience with her family and friends.
The fact that she also received one of the two faculty horizon scholarships given out during the ceremony only made the nature of the day that much more special.
“I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” Voller said. “It took the motivation just to get it done, but sitting here right now I’m really happy that it’s something that I did.”
In all 32 students received their high school diplomas Friday morning and were congratulated by Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer and school board members Evelyn Moore and Don Scholl – a welcoming committee of sorts that brought many smiles to the faces of the graduates.
With so many having to overcome such great odds – balancing school with a full-time job and a family or learning how to speak English – the mood among those who had accomplished their goal was exuberant at the very least.
It was a former student, however, that helped put the entire Lindbergh Adult School experience into perspective.
Amy Conklin, who immigrated to the United States from Thailand in 2002, had to learn how to speak English before she could pursue her goal of graduating with a high school diploma from an American school. She studied hard, paid attention to her teachers, and eventually received the slip of paper in 2007.
Regardless of the road that you took to get there, Conklin would go on to say, nothing is stopping you from taking a new road to wherever it is that you want to go.
“It’s never too late to chase one’s dreams,” she said with a smile. “If it were not for a high school diploma I would not be standing here today. I looked at it as a challenge, studied many hours and sacrificed a lot.
“But it all paid off when I received my diploma. Everything worked out.”
Conklin would also lay out three specific points that she wanted the graduates to remember education is the most important thing, that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, and that you should never give up on your dreams.
It was Manteca Adult School principal Diane Medeiros, however, that gave the students some of the most encouraging words of the entire graduation process.
“You have every reason to stand proud this morning,” she said. “Your hard work has paid off and your education will continue to pay dividends well into the future.”