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Reid High Graduating Class of 2018

Thank you Justin Rudd for your continued support of Reid High School


 2018 Graduation SPEECHES 

Eliana Ramirez' Speech

Graduation 2018 Reid High School 

“What might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.” This quote is from Lemony Snicket who is one of my favorite authors. Unfortunate events have occurred in my life and I see now that they were the first steps in my journey. I have been homeless, unable to attend school on a regular basis, and didn’t expect to graduate on time. But here I am – graduating on time and giving the class speech!!

My family became homeless when my mom left an abusive relationship. For a year we moved between a shelter and a motel while she tried to get back on her feet. During this time I was also trying to provide for my year old son. School was not my first priority. I attended off and on and was told I would not be able to graduate on time because of my missing credits. My counselor called me in during my Junior year and asked if I would consider going to Reid to recover credits and hopefully get my diploma. He was so convincing about what a good program Reid had, that I decided to try it. I am so happy that I did!!

I know some people believe Reid is just a school for pregnant girls, gang members, and dropouts. I want to say to all of you, THAT IS NOT TRUE. Here at Reid I was given a second chance. My teachers have been helpful and caring, and I have learned a lot. Mrs. You taught me math and I really got the hang of it. Mrs. Showley taught me to write a paragraph in English and taught me about outer space and blackholes in science. Mrs. Velazquez taught me how to annotate. Mr. E taught me about all different cultures and genocides. Ms. Shyne taught me about the government, why I should vote, and how to manage my money. Mr. Wellman taught me about American literature a

nd passed on some of his energy. Ms. Shemera gave me written feedback on my papers which made me feel good about what I had written. I know Ms. Benassini is a great art teacher, but, unfortunately, I was never able to take her class. Reid has been good for me.

What has kept me motivated is my son, who is now 3 years old, and my mother. I want to be a role model to my son and siblings. I want them to know they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to just like I have done. They will continue to motivate me when I start college in the fall.

I want to thank Reid High School for having us and allowing us to excel academically. I promise we will make all of you proud. We will continue to take the steps to complete our journey.

Congratulations to this class of 2018. We will make sure our journeys continue!!



Alexandra Lavayen-Jenkins Speech

Graduation 2018 Reid High School 

Dr. Cornejo, Superintendent Steinhauser, honored guests, faculty, friends, and most importantly the Reid High School graduating class of 2018.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be standing here delivering this letter to a group of students that are near and dear to my heart.  Although this is considered a speech, I think of it more as a letter because I feel letters are more personal.  Speeches at times can be broad and indirect where this letter was specifically written for our small close-knit community here at Reid.

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Alexandra Lavayen-Jenkins and I’m the supervising secretary here at Reid High School.  I know some of you may be thinking, why is this Latina’s last name Jenkins, well let me explain why.  I’m married to a handsome African American man and together we have three beautiful, culturally blended children, much like our campus that is also beautiful and culturally blended.  As I look out at the graduating class of 2018 I see an extension of my personal family and my life in many ways. 

Three years ago I walked onto the Reid campus not really knowing what to expect.  I know some people thought I was crazy for wanting to work at Reid, but I knew Reid was where I needed to be.  I jumped right in and claimed all of you students as my own, because at the end of the day we are a family, united by our GRIT.   Many of you have battled to get to where you are right now, wearing your cap & gown, eagerly awaiting the next chapter in your life.  There was a time when most of you probably felt like people counted you out, they assumed you would not graduate, you were the underdog, and one thing I’m good at, is rooting for the underdog, because there was a time in my life when I too was the underdog. 

I gave birth to my son when I was eighteen years old. Here I was, taking care of a baby, while most of my friends were in college living life to the fullest, responsibility free.  I never regretted having my son, although I did regret the fact that I had him at such a young age. I didn’t get to enjoy my pregnancy like some expectant mothers do, instead I was attending adult school making up ten credits I was lacking in order to receive my high school diploma. People told me that my life was ruined, that me becoming pregnant my senior year had ended the chance of any future I could possibly have.  I would be lying if I said that I never believed what people were saying.  There were many times that I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Being a teen Mom was tough, and to make matters worse, my son’s father was killed in a drive by shooting when our son was just two years old.  I suddenly had to play Mommy and Daddy, and it was at this time that I found this inner strength, an innate drive to succeed, that GRIT I mentioned earlier.  I always knew, despite any circumstance, I would prevail.   

Everything that was meant to harm me, I was able to use as a stepping stone.  I stayed focused and I was persistent.  There were so many times that I would apply for jobs knowing that I did not have enough experience, but I adopted the idea that “the worse they can say is no”, and my persistence always paid off.  I made sure to learn all I could wherever I worked, even if it was not in my job description.  I figured the more I knew the more marketable I was.  This way of thinking helped me climb the ladder here in LBUSD and eventually opened up the door to pursuing a career as a School Counselor.  Students had always naturally gravitated to me and I often found myself assisting and encouraging them on a daily basis.  I always had a passion to help students succeed, possibly because I didn’t have very much support in school, so I wanted to be that person for students that I wished I had.

I had always dreamed of one day becoming a college graduate, but I began to doubt myself. How could I possibly work, take care of my family, and go to school?  In that moment I began to think of all the things in my life that I had been through and how I persevered.  I had dealt with domestic violence, homelessness, grief, loss, and countless disappointments but here I was still standing.  I had no choice but to go for it!

I began the journey of pursuing my college degree in 2006 when my middle son was just 6 months old.  In 2010 I earned my AA from a local community college, while I was pregnant with my daughter.  In 2015 I graduated from Azusa Pacific University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies.  Here we are 12 years later and just 10 days ago I graduated with my Masters of Science in Educational Counseling from the University of La Verne.  So you see we are alike in many ways, we were patient, persistent, and we persevered.  My wish for all of you is that the definition of the word GRIT be the mantra of your life just as we adopted Grit as our mantra here on campus.   Don’t stop here.  Pursue your passion.  All of us were created to do great things; we are all blessed with talents.  Tap into those talents, and use them to help others. I encourage you all to start setting short term goals now, create a game plan, and when you reach your goals, teach others how to do the same. 

Don’t ever allow anyone or any circumstance to dictate your future.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  Take it from a girl whose high school cumulative GPA was .86 and who now has graduated with her Masters and a 4.0 GPA!  Anything is possible! Congratulations Reid Raptors class of 2018!