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Just-A-Start YouthBuild Celebrates its Class of 2015 Graduation

Entering the Bunker Hill Community College auditorium to the sound of Pomp & Circumstance and the applause of their family and friends, more than thirty young adults celebrated their graduation from the Just-A-Start YouthBuild program, earning their high school diplomas or HiSET certificates through the alternative education program.“I feel privileged to be part of the YouthBuild community,” said student speaker and diploma recipient Victor Santos Sosa. “I am proud to carry on the YouthBuild legacy on behalf of Just-A-Start and the students who have come before me.”
Sosa also thanked the JAS YouthBuild staff, his family, and his fellow graduates, reminding them that “it will not be easy, but stay hungry for success and be passionate.”
Fellow student speaker and HiSet recipient Tiffany May echoed his feelings about Youthbuild.
“One of my favorite things about YouthBuild is that we were like one big family,” May said. “We always try to help each other and motivate one another.”
The graduation program opened with welcoming remarks from JAS Executive Director Deborah Ruhe, followed by Program Director Dolores Ortiz and student speakers, a slideshow of the past year, and the JAS touting the accomplishments of each graduating student. The ceremony concluded with the entire class reciting the YouthBuild pledge, led by graduate Danny Lopez-Nacho.
“You are an example of reciliency and triumph,” Ortiz said to the graduation class. “This is an accomplishment that no one will ever be able to take away from you.”
The mission of the JAS YouthBuild program is to develop the skills and abilities of youth in order to maximize their opportunities for personal growth and productive citizenship. This is accomplished through education, skills training, guidance, exposure to different cultural ideas, and the building of confidence while involving them in the provision of real community services in Chelsea, Cambridge and surrounding Metro-North communities. JAS YouthBuild is a partner of Youthbuild USA, Americorps, and Massachusetts Service Alliance.
Diploma recipients: Rosa Alvarez, Victor Barahona, Filomena Chavez, Christian Garcia, Jeffrey Gratini, Danny Lopez-Nacho, Juan Meza, Adam Nur, Anthony Ortiz, Cristian Perdomo, Mayra Romero, Vanessa Salazar, Victor Santos-Sosa, Luis Luna Torres.
HiSET certificate recipients: Arles Amaya, Shaunte Avery, Lisette Barahona, Cody Bernard, Kelvin Calderon, Jorge Carcamo, Karen Cedeno, Elijah Clarke, Jan Gonzalez, Alex Iraola, Elvis Justiniano, Orlando Laboy, Tiffany May, Mario Pereira, Oscar Ramos, Gabriel Rosario, Kency Rivera, Norman Kennedy Taylor, Chad Tene, Jacqueline Valladares, Hinmar Villanueva.