Celebrating the Class of 2020!

Congratulations Graduates!

No one ever forgets the day they throw their cap in the air, so whether you are celebrating your graduation from high school, college or beyond, I am certain it marked the end of a school year to be remembered!

With the coronavirus closing your classrooms, separating you from your teachers and tutors and sending you home for independent study, no graduating class before has ever faced the challenges that you have. But, you have triumphed and you’ve done it with dignity, tenacity and, after watching some of the ways you found to creatively celebrate your success, with more than a certain style!

While it may seem like the world is a little bit crazy right now to be starting that next chapter in your life, each chapter brings its own opportunity. So, well done, take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work it took to get here and then marshal that perseverance and ‘can do’ attitude, and go find that opportunity meant especially for you. I promise it’s out there waiting and it will be far greater than you can ever imagine today.

Congratulations Class of 2020!

–  John Fowler, President & CEO


Keep celebrating with us – new students will be added daily!

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Jennifer Barajas!

My name is Jennifer Barajas, I graduated with the class of 2020. I participated in clubs such as Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America and Varsity Cheerleading. I enjoyed being able to participate in many school events and represent Santa Maria High School. I plan to further my education at Fresno State this upcoming fall majoring in Agriculture Business and hope to attend law school in the future. As career goals, I want to open a plant nursery business and in the future become an immigration lawyer.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Ismael Valdez!

Ismael Valdez is graduating from Santa Maria High School class of 2020.  Diego will be attending Allan Hancock College in the fall.  He will be pursuing a career in Welding

“Smile! Remember the moments, good and bad!”

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Diana Manriquez!

My name is Diana Manriquez, I am 17 years old. Nationality is Mexican. Birth origin in Leon, Guanajuato. I was immigrated to the United States at the age of 3. Therefore all I am and have is thanks to my parents, I will never be able to pay back all their struggles they have faced to give us a better life than theirs. Thank you mom and dad! I will be going to Santa Barbara City College in the fall. I will also be transferring to Oxnard college to major in Dental Hygienist. All goes for my parents ESFUERZOOO y SUDOR!!

“Smile! Remember the moments, good and bad!”

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Benjamin Bautista Lopez!

My name is Benjamin Bautista Lopez. I graduated from Santa Maria High School. I am attending Allan Hancock College in the fall and I am majoring in Kinesiology. What inspires me to further my education is to see how my parents have worked hard and suffer in the fields. I also got to experience that feeling and I don’t want to do that for the rest of my life so getting an education is a good path for a great future.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Yaquelin Garibay Hurtado!

My name is Yaquelin Garibay Hurtado. I grew up as the oldest of three girls. My family is a low-income family and they have struggled to give us everything we need and because of them I want to continue going to school. After High School, I will continue with school. I was accepted into California State University, Stanislaus, CSU, Monterey Bay and San Diego State but I felt I needed to prepare myself a little bit more so I decided to go to Cuesta College and then transfer to a University. I plan on working in order to save money for college and be better prepared to succeed at the university.

Congratulations to 2020 College Graduate Daniel Maldonado-Guzman!

Hola a tod@s,

My name is Daniel Maldonado-Guzman and I recently obtained my Master of Science degree in Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. As a first-generation POC, education has given me copious opportunities to continue doing the work I do. Post-grad, I will remain at Cal Poly to work as a Coordinator of Student Development (CSD) where I will be serving students living in our residential learning communities (University Housing).

My area of interest include listening to the narratives of resilience among first-generation Latinx students attending Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and factors that may contribute to the student’s success. Thus, I hope to one day obtain my PhD in Higher Education in the hopes of dismantling educational policies that continue to impact first-generation students of color.

To end, I hope to motivate younger scholars to chase after their dreams and goals — whatever that may be. If there is any advice I can give it would be to never doubt your ability to overcome any obstacles that may come your way. Obstacles allow us to grow into individuals we never would have imagined, so do not be afraid!

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Arturo Jasso!

Arturo Jasso is graduating from Carpinteria High School.  Diego will be attending Ventura City College in the fall.  He will be pursing a career in Welding.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Jesus Balandrano Ramirez!

My name is Jesus Balandrano Ramirez and I just graduated from San Marcos High School with a cumulative 4.4 GPA. I did over 500+ community service hours. I was a part of the Health Careers Academy, the AVID/PEAC program, Future Leaders of America, and the REACH program. I also partook in an internship at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital as part of the Health Careers Academy after receiving my Certified Nursing Assistant certificate from SBCC. I will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara starting this upcoming July as a pre-biology major. I plan on pursuing medical school after receiving my bachelor’s degree and becoming a doctor.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Maleeha Mustafa!

My name is Maleeha Mustafa, and I am graduating from Dos Pueblos High school. I will be attending Santa Barbara City College in the fall. When I was six years old I moved from Pakistan to the U.S.A. I would like to study Architecture in the future. My goal is to attend a university and study architecture and civil engineering. I was part of the first Dos Pueblos women wrestling team. I have wrestled for two years, each year increasing my experience. I am part of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, and hope to continue my passion for engineering and design in the future. I also have passion for art and won the Santa Barbara Art Scholarship. I take a great love of art and especially in Henna. I have been doing henna for the past eight years. I make my own and have improved a lot. One of my biggest goals in life is to build a career that is stable and is something that I love doing.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Rudy Jimenez!

Rudy Jimenez is graduating from Carpinteria High School.  She is going to be attending SBCC in the fall.  She will be pursuing a career in Cosmetology or the Nursing Field.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Yulisa Mendez Zayas!

My name is Yulisa Mendez Zayas and I am 18 years old. The people that inspire me to continue pursuing my dreams are my parents. Seeing how they came from a low-income family themselves and not having the opportunity of having an education is the driving force to continue my education. I’m motivated to make them proud and to remember why they came to this country. They are always by my side motivating me, cheering me on, and most importantly they have shown their support in making sure I attend a university to have the ability to pursue careers and opportunities they didn’t get a chance to pursue.

Yulisa was accepted to Fresno State, CSU Channel Islands, CSU Stanislaus, and CSU Bakersfield. Due to the COVID-19 situation she has made the decision to attend Allan Hancock College in the Fall and transfer to the university in a couple of years.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Yadira Barajas!

My name is Yadira Barajas, I graduated with the class of 2020 at Santa Maria High school. I enjoyed making friends and memories throughout my four years of high school. My education goal is to attend Allan Hancock college majoring in pre-med and transferring to CSU Channel Island and finish off medical school. For my career goal I am determined to become a Labor and Delivery nurse.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Gisselle Perez!

Hello my name is Gisselle Perez. I will be attending Santa Barbara City College to major in criminal justice as well as getting my minor in physiology. Graduating in 2020 was not easy but I learned to value education and all the opportunities we have at hand.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Miguel Neri!

My name is Miguel Neri. I graduated from Santa Maria High and will be attending Allan Hancock Community College in the fall. I plan on pursuing a career in Agricultural Marketing. My inspiration and what keeps me moving forward is father Lucio Neri.

Congratulations to 2020 College Graduate Yesenia Beas!

Yesenia Beas is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Receiving her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Child development.  She plans to become an academic counselor for college students with a focus in career counseling. She believes that this degree is a stepping stone for her future and that she could have not done it without the help of many whom she stands on. One of them being People Self Help Housing who has supported her throughout her college education. She is ready to give back to the community who has helped her so much. With plans of getting her Master’s degree in academic counseling followed by a doctoral degree in education.

May this accomplishment show that you too can reach your goals! Congrats to all the 2020 Graduates!

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Pedro Hernandez!

Pictured here with his parents, Tereso and Elena Hernandez, Canyon Creek resident Pedro Hernandez recently graduated from Cuesta College and accepted an offer of admission from UC Santa Cruz, where he intends to major in business management economics. After graduating from Paso Robles High School, Pedro completed his associate’s degree at Cuesta in two years and was accepted as a transfer applicant to Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Northridge, San Francisco State, and UC Riverside as well as UC Santa Cruz.

In addition to need-based financial aid, UC Santa Cruz offered Pedro an Undergraduate Dean’s Award, worth $8000 over two years, “in recognition of your achievements, accomplishments and the contributions you will make to our community.” He will also be supported by federal matching funds he will receive through an individual development account administered by People’s Self-Help Housing.
Of his goals, Pedro writes, “I want to prove to the world that I can be successful even if I was not born blessed like others. That I can be successful using hard work and nothing else. I want to prove it to the whole world, then come back and show others that it is possible.”
You’re already doing that, Pedro. Thank you, and congratulations.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Diego Barraza!

Diego Barraza is graduating from Santa Barbara High School. Diego has been accepted to attend UC Davis in the fall. He will be pursuing a major in Environmental Science and Medicine.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Berenice Romero!

Canyon Creek resident, Berenice Romero grew up in Los Angeles, CA and moved to Paso Robles in the 7th grade. “I have grown to appreciate and like Paso Robles and the people who live here. I actually have not met such kind people before,” says Berenice of her experience living in the Central Coast. Berenice graduated from Independence High School in Paso Robles and plans on studying cosmetology. She hopes to move back to LA soon and travel the world. She wants to travel with her best friend and make memories with her and her family. Her top travel destinations include South Korea, Paris and Mexico.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Ivan Carmona-Alvarez!

My name is Ivan Carmona-Alvarez and I’m a 2020 graduate from Dos Pueblos High School. I am writing this a few days before my graduation. It’s both exciting and weird that I’m finally graduating high school. Now that this chapter is coming to a close, I have to prepare for what comes next.

I am attending Santa Barbara City College in the Fall as well as taking classes in the Summer as part of the Running Start program. I will be majoring in Film Production, which is the subject that I have been most interested in since I was 5, so it’s sort of crazy knowing that it’s actually going to be my major. I am planning on attending SBCC for the two years covered by the Promise program. After that, I want to attend a film school in Los Angeles. Right now I’m looking at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. It’s very expensive, so hopefully in the 2 years, my family can save enough money for me to actually go there. Another option would be Exceptional Minds, which is a school specializing in VFX and animation for people on the Autism Spectrum. Though VFX isn’t the sector of filmmaking that I’m most interested in, the idea of getting an education in a way that’s tailored for people like me is pretty cool, since not learning in that type of environment was part of the reason I didn’t do too well in school. Ideally there would be a school with a more general focus on all aspects of filmmaking that was made for people with autism, but won’t disregard Exceptional Minds just yet.

I’m not sure what I will do after school is done, but the dream would be to find people with similar interests and form a group that can do cool projects together that could help us get jobs in the industry. So, hopefully that dream comes true.

Overall, I am pretty hopeful about my future. Let’s see what happens! Thank you to Peoples’ Self-Help Housing for providing support to students and their families.

Congratulations to 2020 High School Graduate Brisa Hernandez!

Brisa Hernandez had to overcome many obstacles in order to graduate. Brisa did not start off taking school seriously and it took many long hours of dedicating herself to her schoolwork and retaking classes during summer school to achieve the grades she needed to graduate. The people who said she could not do it fueled her fire and inspired her to push through in the toughest of times. She plans to study cosmetology in the fall. She also wants to become a registered nurse. Her dreams are to travel the world and her top three destinations include Brazil, Cabo San Lucas, Africa and Tokyo, Japan. She wants to become financially independent and successful in life!

Congratulations to 2020 College Graduate Yadira Cisneros!

Yadira Cisneros is a College Graduate form CSU Northridge.  She has received her Bachelors of Art in Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education.  Her future goal is to pursue a Master’s degree in Special Education to continue helping young kids be their best.