By Reggie Ellis
exeter – A high school diploma is often something we take for granted. For many graduates, the commencement ceremony is an inevitable step in their journey from adolescence to becoming and adult. But by mid-way through their teenage years, some high schoolers are faced with the possibility they may not graduate because they struggled to understand concepts, fell behind on units due to absences or couldn’t get the individualized instruction they needed.
That’s where Kaweah High School comes in, and they are some of the best in the State at what they do. Twenty-six graduates received their diplomas from the alternative education program on May 31 at the Exeter Union High School Auditorium as Principal Darin Pace tried to acknowledge the best attributes of many of his students by name.
“Your success will be based on what you can do rather than languishing on what you cannot,” Pace said.
Lead Teacher Beth Micari presented two students with the Optimist Club of Exeter’s annual scholarship, but not before Pace introduced her to the crowd as the 2017 Continuation High School Teacher of the Year for the State of California. Earlier this year, Pace was announced as the Tulare County and regional award winner for the Continuation/Educational Options Administrator of the Year. Pace’s award for ACSA Region 11 — which encompasses Tulare, Kings, Kern, Inyo and Mono counties – makes him eligible for the statewide award as well. Academically, KHS was granted the maximum six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), was named a Model Continuation High School last March by the California Department of Education and has received numerous Golden Bells from the California School Boards Association.
In 2015, Evelia “Eve” Alvarez, former office manager and guidance associate for KHS, was awarded the Tulare County Office of Education’s Excellence in Education Awards for School Employee of the Year.
Exeter Unified School District Superintendent Tim Hire concluded the ceremony by certifying the diplomas and imparting some words of wisdom.
“We learn skills and knowledge, to grow emotionally, to overcome adversity and to grow resilient,” Hire said.