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School Days: Gilroy Unified School District Celebrating 2019 Graduates By Melanie Corona, Public Information Officer, Gilroy Unified School District Michelle Del Real, (GECA) “Everything happens for a reason.” Michelle Del Real graduated from GECA with her high school diploma on May 23 and received her Associate’s Degree in Spanish from Gavilan Col- lege on May 24. She will attend UC San Diego in the fall, majoring in Political Science, with an emphasis in public law, and a minor in International Mi- gration. She plans to attend law school and wants to practice immigration law in Southern California. Michelle attended Ascencion Solorsano Middle School and during her time at GECA she was the president of the Yearbook Club and served as ASB Vice President her senior year. She will intern this summer at an immigration assistance office in Gilroy before she leaves for college and was tutor for middle school students for the last few years. During her sophomore year at GECA, Michelle served on the City of Gilroy’s Youth Commis- sion where she helped with the Pampered Princess Party and Gilroy Holiday Parade. Earlier in 2019, Michelle committed to attend a different UC school, but she was awarded the Julio Mata Scholarship and Uvas Creek Scholarship by the Gilroy Foundation which allowed her to attend UC San Diego, her top school of choice. Michelle says her greatest inspiration is her own mother, Delfina, who at 43, completed her GED through the GUSD Adult Ed program Delfina Del Real Gilroy Unified School District Adult Education Program, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Delfina Del Real received her GED certificate from the GUSD Adult Education on May 29, graduating a week after her 64 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN daughter, Michelle, graduated from high school. Delfina immigrated to America as a 16 year old, and married her first husband shortly thereafter. While her first husband pursued his collegiate degree, Delfina stayed home to raise her two children, Michelle and Ricky. She always wanted to finish high school and attend college, and better her English skills, but it wasn’t until Michelle encouraged her to attain her GED that she thought that finishing high school was a possibility. Delfina initially wanted to become a social worker but has enrolled at Gavilan College in the accounting program, with the goal of transferring to a four-year college once she finish her Associate’s degree. Delfina has always encouraged her children, which now includes three-year-old Hannah, to work hard and take advantage of all the educational opportunities available to them. She enlisted Michelle to tutor her as she prepared for the math portion of the GED exam, and passed easily. Because she has had success in the classroom and she values education so greatly, Delfina has encouraged that her friends create the same educational opportunities for themselves. Her friends now regularly visit Delfina and Michelle in their home as Michelle helps tutor them for the same exam she helped her mom study for. Delfina credits her teacher, Ms. Judy, for encouraging her to continue working for her education, even when Hannah was a baby. Her educational successes will have an immediate ripple effect for her family and friends for years to come. Noe Serafio Jr. Gilroy High School “Run through the Pain” Noe Serafio Jr. graduated from Gilroy High School on June 7. He will attend Santa Clara University on a full scholar- ship in the fall. Noe is the son of Mexican immigrants, and he and his sister are the first people in their family to attend college. Noe will participate in the LEAD Scholars program at Santa Clara, which is designed to help first-generation college students adjust to collegiate life. Noe’s intended field of study is civil and environmental engineering, with a minor in computer science. Noe attended El Roble Elementary and Ascencion Solorsano Middle School before joining the Mustang Nation. Teachers who made an impact on Noe’s life during high school are his math teacher, Ms. Pham, and his yearbook advisor, Mr. Leong, who Noe considers a lifelong friend. He also says that current GUSD Board Member, En- rique Diaz, was a crucial motivator for him to attend college august/september 2019 I n Spring 2019, Gilroy Unified School District celebrated 882 graduates from our four high schools: Gilroy High, Christopher High, Mt. Madonna and Dr. TJ Owens Early College Academy (GECA), and 33 from our Adult Education program, in ceremonies throughout the community. Graduation is a time of pride and excitement, not only for the graduates, but also for the village of friends and family members who helped them attain their high school diploma. In honor of our graduates, Gilroy Unified School District is honored to recognize five represen- tatives of the best and brightest our community has to offer.