[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 17
1969 - Construction begins on Magic Mountain amusement park [story]


One hundred fifty college-bound young adults, many of them the first in their families to attend college, including one student who is College of the Canyons-bound, will proudly take center stage and be honored for their success on Tuesday, June 26, as part of the 30th annual “Celebration 2018: Honoring the Academic Achievements of Foster Youth.”

This unique event, featuring the inspiring stories of these exceptional young people, begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, located at 111 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

Hundreds of friends, foster parents, family members, and social workers will celebrate the proud graduates as they march across the stage to honor this significant milestone in their lives—an occasion marked by academic achievement and triumph over adversity.

“Celebration 2018” is a collaborative effort involving the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, and United Friends of the Children.

DCFS Director Bobby Cagle, Kara Allen Soldati, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Friends of the Children, and Terri L. McDonald of the Los Angeles County Department of Probation will address and bestow congratulations upon the graduates.

“These foster youths have overcome significant obstacles to achieve academic excellence. They know that education is the key to having a different kind of life—one of promise and personal fulfillment. Foster youth are often perceived by the public as damaged goods, destined to struggle throughout their lives. These graduates dispel that myth. Many Celebration graduates will attend prestigious schools throughout the nation pursuing careers in medicine, law, engineering and the arts. A good number of the graduates will seek careers in child welfare, so they can help those youths, who like themselves had to deal with challenges not of their own making. On this night, social workers, family members, caregivers and friends all celebrate what these exceptional youths have accomplished,” said Bobby Cagle.

This year’s featured youth alumnae speaker is Junely Merwin, currently enrolled at California State University Fullerton, graduating class of 2019. Junely, who participated in Celebration 2011, is a Human Services major with a minor in Human Communications. She will share her successes and challenges since leaving foster care, encouraging the graduates to stay focused on their academic goals and personal dreams.

Celebration graduate Fernando Morales, an accomplished jazz bassist, soon to be pursuing his music studies in Spain through the prestigious Berklee College of Music, will perform original compositions onstage with his quartet.

When Diego Tinoco, star of the trending Netflix series On My Block addresses the graduates, they will undoubtedly be tuned in. Set in South Los Angeles, the series centers on a group of friends attempting to balance the challenges of adolescence and life in their predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhood, forcing Diego’s character to choose between gang influences and education.

All “Celebration 2018” graduates will receive scholarships and have access to continued financial assistance. Scholarships are donated from a variety of agencies, organizations, corporations and non-profit organizations including Accenture, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Foster Care Counts, Heads Up Youth Foundation, Jane Mabie Memorial Scholarship/ All Saints Church Foster Care Project, Rotary Club of Los Angeles, Torrance Woman’s Club, William and Terumi Kawasaki Foundation, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Omicron Rho Zeta Chapter, Barbara L. and Richard C. Barrett Foundation, Generations on the Move, Project Good for Girls, The Moore Family Foundation, and United Friends of the Children.

Should the public be interested in contributing to the scholarship funds for Celebration graduates, they can contact Charlotte Lewis with DCFS Youth Development Services at (626) 938-1727.

The Celebration graduation starts at 7 pm. Graduates profiled below will be available for interviews in the Green Room from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Media will be allowed to film a rehearsal of the students onstage from 2:30 –3:30 p.m. During the actual ceremony, media will only be allowed to film from the back row of the Disney Concert Hall. If you plan to cover the event, please let us know in advance when you will arrive.

Below are some of the personal and moving stories from “Celebration 2018” graduates, including Madisyn, who is battling Cystic Fibrosis and will soon attend College of the Canyons:
“Cystic fibrosis doesn’t mean you stop dreaming,” says Madisyn.
At 2 weeks old, Madisyn was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease requiring frequent hospitalizations. Growing up, she had to cope with her many health issues without the support of an alcoholic mother and absent father. At age 8, Madisyn’s world spun out of control when her beloved grandfather died, and her mother became suicidal. Her medical condition has not allowed Madisyn to attend traditional schools until recently, yet despite these obstacles, she’s persevered with the support of her grandmother, friends and hospital staff. She receives breathing treatments four times a day and must guard against infection as her immune system is severely compromised. Madisyn has learned to accept her condition and wants others to know they can achieve their dreams despite a cystic fibrosis diagnosis. She is currently working on a short film at her high school to help people learn about cystic fibrosis. Photography, painting, choir, theater, and writing provide creative outlets. Her 3.21 grade point average has earned her acceptance to College of the Canyons where she plans to major in education and business.

Jerry’s new heart beats with a passion to design life-saving devices.
At age 11, Jerry suffered cardiac arrest requiring 7 months on a cardiac support device. After his family relocated to LA from San Francisco, he fell asleep one day in his school’s hallway and woke up several months later with a new heart. His parents were not up to task of providing the necessary medical care, so Jerry was placed in the home of his current foster parent which allowed him to excel at school. Although determined to study medicine, Jerry became interested in electrical engineering. In 8th grade he assembled his own Gameboy, igniting his passion for electronics. He’s the “electrical leader” for his high school’s First Robotics Competition. A well-rounded scholar, Jerry role-plays court cases through his school’s Mock Trial program and is involved in the TEDx Program, designed to help communities, organizations and individuals spark innovative conversation and connection. He envisions a career combining his interest in electrical engineering with his love of medicine. Says Jerry, “My heart’s circulatory system wasn’t fully functioning. Engineering is making things move that aren’t alive. It’s bringing life to something that’s actually inanimate.” His 4.16 GPA has earned him acceptance to the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts where he will study electrical engineering.

“If not a Senator, I can see myself performing on Broadway”
Austin’s journey has been marked by tragedy and heartache. Both his parents suffered from mental illness resulting in homelessness and his father’s suicide three years ago. Says Austin, “my family was shredded, my home was gone, and my future completely dismantled.” He still hears his father’s voice encouraging him to move forward despite the challenges he has faced. Austin has attended the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica since kindergarten where he participates in Conservatory, an intensive theater program. At age 7, Austin started acting in TV commercials and had a recurring role on the TV hit The King of Queens. But Austin tired of auditions and being typecasted. “Theater was different—I could express myself as an individual. He’s starred in 15 productions, most recently Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and Rent. Last summer, Austin participated in Northwestern University’s prestigious Cherub’s Program. Austin’s other love is political science. He’s been president of the local Youth and Government Delegation, the state’s premier youth leadership and civic development program and has served as Chair of his school’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee He actively participates in the Black Student Union. Every Saturday, with his great uncle, he passes out lunches to homeless people around the city with the help of friends in the community. Says Austin, “If not a Senator, I can see myself performing on Broadway. I want to
make people think and affect change through politics and theater.”

Talented jazz musician is hitting all the right notes onstage and off.
Fernando’s musical talents have taken him to unimagined heights, jamming with some of the nation’s most renowned jazz artists. He’s hitting all the right notes and will spend this fall in Spain studying his craft as part of Berklee College of Music’s overseas program. Growing up, Fernando’s father was out of the picture and his mother was rarely home to attend to him and his younger siblings. Family and friends helped Fernando fight depression and stay on track. Picking up the bass guitar at age 14 proved to be his salvation. He’s received numerous awards at jazz festivals as an outstanding musician and soloist and was selected to play for the prestigious Southern California Band & Orchestra Association Jazz Honor band. The Stanford Jazz Workshop awarded him a full tuition scholarship which allowed him to learn from jazz legends Ravi Coltrane and Kendrick Scott. He’s also played with Wayne Bergeron, one of the most sought-after musicians in the world. Fernando plans to double major in music performance and audio recording. You can catch him onstage at Celebration 2018 playing his original jazz compositions with his quartet.

Immigrant scholar’s law and psychology studies will allow her to help other vulnerable youth.
– Mariah’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Honduras and El Salvador. When Mariah was 12, her mother abandoned her and her younger sisters, leaving Mariah depressed and anxious. With the support of her aunt and therapist, Mariah resolved her painful issues while challenging herself to excel at Students on Academic Rise Early College High School in Lancaster. An impressive 4.36 Grade point average has her attending UCLA where she will study psychology, and possibly law. She’s already earned a local scholarship from Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. At school, she’s participated in Mock Trial, which allows her to learn about law and practice in courtroom situations. Mariah tutors younger children at a day care and volunteers at a home for the elderly. She’s thankful her aunt has kept her family including her siblings and grandmother together, allowing her to pursue her dream of attending college. Mariah is hopeful that her psychology and law studies will enable her to work in the child welfare system, helping those who like herself find themselves in difficult situations.

From the Middle East back to Los Angeles—Ali is an American Success Story.
Ali was born in the U.S. and relocated to Jordan in the Middle East at age 4. His parents wanted him to meet his extended family, learn about his culture, religion, and to learn how to speak, write, and read Arabic. Acclimating to this new world without his mother by his side was very difficult. After 7 years, Ali returned to the U.S. As a freshman in high school, he now had to work twice as hard on his English skills to complete his schoolwork. Ali was up to the task and was honored for the “best project” at his high school— building a model of a nuclear reactor, with a smoke machine. He’s been on the Dean’s List and Principal’s Honor Roll almost every semester, and served as an American History teacher’s assistant and a peer leader. He will be the first in his family to graduate high school and will attend Pierce College where he will study accounting. Ali wants to give back to the community by helping people with low incomes with their financial issues. When not studying, Ali enjoys weightlifting, football, swimming, water polo, writing poetry, and photography.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Friday, Nov 16, 2018
Retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Alex Villanueva has pulled ahead of incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell by 57,810 votes in the Nov. 6 general election
Friday, Nov 16, 2018
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Nov. 20, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Friday, Nov 16, 2018
A multitude of important disaster recovery resources from government, non-profit, and private agencies are now available online at www.lacounty.gov/woolseyfire to help support residents, business owners, and others impacted by the Woolsey Fire.
Friday, Nov 16, 2018
Red Rock Canyon State Park officials have set their schedule of interpretive events for the second half of November.
Friday, Nov 16, 2018
The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a disaster declaration for Los Angeles County that will make low-interest federal disaster loans available to businesses and residents impacted by the Woolsey Fire.

Keep Up With Our Facebook
Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1969 - Construction begins on Magic Mountain amusement park [story]
Democratic challenger Christy Smith's lead has widened to 3,099 votes over Republican incumbent Dante Acosta in the race for California's 38th District, according to the updated ballot count released Friday afternoon by the Los Angeles County and Ventura County registrars of voters.
Smith Widens Lead in 38th Assembly District Tally
Retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Alex Villanueva has pulled ahead of incumbent Sheriff Jim McDonnell by 57,810 votes in the Nov. 6 general election
Sheriff’s Race: Villanueva Widens Lead Over McDonnell by Nearly 58K Votes
A new three-year collective bargaining agreement between Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Health Care Unions is now in effect through Sept. 30, 2021.
Kaiser Permanente, Health Care Unions Ratify New National Deal
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Nov. 20, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Nov. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area suffered significant damage from the Woolsey Fire, including the destruction of the Western Town at Paramount Ranch and a building housing priceless archives, the National Park Service reported Friday.
Woolsey Fire Destroys Western Town, Museum, Archives at Paramount Ranch
A multitude of important disaster recovery resources from government, non-profit, and private agencies are now available online at www.lacounty.gov/woolseyfire to help support residents, business owners, and others impacted by the Woolsey Fire.
County Launches Recovery, Damage Reporting Webpage for Woolsey Fire Victims
Red Rock Canyon State Park officials have set their schedule of interpretive events for the second half of November.
Red Rock Canyon State Park Sets November Walks, Talks, Slide Show
Registration is underway for the College of the Canyons winter semester, and registration for the spring 2019 semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Register Now for COC Winter Semester; Spring Registration to Open Jan. 2
The California State Auditor rebuked the agency in charge of implementing the state’s high-speed rail project Thursday, finding lack of planning and poor oversight has led to cost overruns plaguing the Golden State’s efforts.
Cost Overruns, Poor Oversight Plague California Bullet Train
The U.S. Small Business Administration has issued a disaster declaration for Los Angeles County that will make low-interest federal disaster loans available to businesses and residents impacted by the Woolsey Fire.
Feds Offer Low-Interest Loans to LA County Wildfire Victims
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man on Friday suspected of vandalizing a Newhall business over the Veterans Day holiday weekend.
SCV Deputies Arrest Newhall Vandalism Suspect
The city of Santa Clarita, in partnership with Parkway Motorcars, will once again hold a Thanksgiving Community Dinner at the Newhall Community Center, located at 22421 Market Street in Newhall.
Nov. 19: City’s Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner
Valencia native, Celine Chen, 14, will compete as a Division Finalist in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Southwest Division Junior Piano.
West Ranch Freshman Heads to Southwest Division Piano Competition
1941 - Rose (stagecoach) Station at bottom of Grapevine dedicated as California Historical Landmark [story]
Princess Cruises has been recognized by SHAPE magazine as a winner in its fourth annual Healthy Travel Awards, recognizing the cruise line’s state-of-the-art Lotus Spa and Fitness Centers onboard its 17 cruise ships.
SHAPE Magazine Recognizes Princess Cruises with Healthy Travel Award
Most people with Medicare will pay the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which will be $135.50 next year, an increase of $1.50 over 2018. Your Part B premium is based on your income. People whose tax returns show income equal to or higher than $85,000 pay higher premiums. These income-adjusted premiums apply to about 5 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Your Medicare Costs in 2019 | Commentary by Greg Dill
The Michael Hoefflin Foundation for children’s cancer is getting ready to celebrate the 2018 Holiday Season.
Michael Hoefflin Foundation Seeking Donations for Holiday Baskets
Chili cook-off entries and craft boutique applications are now being accepted for the Antelope Valley Indian Museum’s eighth-annual “Holidays on the Homestead,” to be held on Saturday Dec. 1, from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Dec. 1: Annual ‘Holidays on the Homestead’ at AV Indian Museum
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Nancy Starczyk as the 2019 Chair of the Board of Directors.
Realtor Nancy Starczyk Named 2019 SCV Chamber Board Chair
The Brittany Foundation will be at Bark Avenue Dog Grooming on Saturday Dec. 8, from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., for pet pictures with Santa.
Dec. 8: Pet Pictures with Santa at Bark Avenue Dog Grooming
The Silvertone Singers, in an effort to raise funding for the new Senior Center set to open in Spring 2019, presents a concert focusing on the theme of "Money."
Nov. 29: Concert, Art Exhibit Benefiting SCV Senior Center
SACRAMENTO - Every year, as the percentage of drivers age 65 and older increases, many look to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to help them maintain their ability to drive safely.
CHP Implements ‘Age Well, Drive Smart’ for Senior Drivers
Smart & Final Stores, Inc., the value-oriented food and everyday staples retailer, reported Wednesday financial results for the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 7, 2018.
Smart & Final Overall Sales Increased 2.8% Over Last Year
No. 1 College of the Canyons will host No. 4 Ventura College in a California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Regional Playoff first round matchup at Cougar Stadium on Saturday Nov. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
No. 1 Canyons Faces Off Against No. 4 Ventura in First Round Matchup
Grab your broom, don your ruby red slippers and travel to the wonderful land of Oz – long before Dorothy and her friends burst onto the scene.
City Offering ‘Wicked’ Excursion to Pantages Theatre
Fire officials raised the Fire Danger Level from “Very High” to “Extreme” in the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
Officials Raise Fire Danger Levels in Angeles National Forest to ‘Extreme’
1978 - Southern Pacific Saugus depot closes; later moved & used as SCV Historical Society museum [story]
Republican incumbent Dante Acosta conceded Wednesday to Democratic challenger Christy Smith in the tight race for California's 38th Assembly District seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
Acosta Concedes to Smith in Assembly Race as Ballot Tally Continues
There's a temptation inherent to a free-flowing and high scoring game.
TMU Men’s Hoopsters Show Selflessness in Win Over Bethesda
TMU's women's volleyball team will fly to Sioux City, Iowa, to begin pool play on Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Earns Bye to NAIA Final Site in Iowa
Before Saturday night's GSAC title game, the PA announcer indulged himself in a bit of low-hanging humor.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Wins GSAC Tourney Title, Earns NAIA Bid
Master's women's volleyball team scored a 3-0 semifinal win over Menlo College on the way to the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament at Hope International in Fullerton.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Team Advances to GSAC Title Game
The Mustangs trailed almost all the way through three quarters, rallied in the fourth, and held on to down No. 7 Carroll 61-56 in Helena, Montana Friday.
TMU Women’s Hoopsters Close Trip with Win Over No. 7 Carroll