Graduation for foster teens made special by many volunteers

 Friends of San Pasqual Academy
Pictured in front row, under quarantine guidelines, are Friends of San Pasqual Academy board members Kathy Lathrum and Lois Jones. Other board members, pictured in back row, are Joan Scott, Andrea Reynolds and Teri Summerhays. They congratulated each graduate and handed out numerous items to the foster graduates of San Pasqual Academy.

These are unusual times for many, but especially for the Class of 2020 graduates. It is a time when a graduate’s hard work and achievements are to be recognized and acknowledged and for the foster graduates at San Pasqual Academy, this also holds true. For many, they are the first in their family to graduate from high school. Many have attended numerous schools during their life and even have had their schooling interrupted. Some have attended up to five different high schools before coming to San Pasqual Academy. Abuse, neglect and trauma have been present in their lives. To celebrate them, a pre-graduation event was held for the 22 foster graduates of San Pasqual Academy. Friends of San Pasqual Academy board members personally handed each graduate special items that were donated and created by many caring individuals. All the foster teens were recognized for their achievement of graduating by the board members and were very appreciative of the many individuals and groups who donated special items for this recognition.

Teen Volunteers In Action, for the 14th year in a row, donated personalized duffel bags that were filled with useful household items. Sheets, towels, a pillow, hygiene items, an alarm clock and more were included in the duffel bags, that had each graduate’s name embroidered on them. The Del Norte Chapter of National Charity League created beautiful baskets that contained various laundry supplies, a shoe rack, snacks and cards of encouragement. Home-made quilts were made by El Camino Quilters and coordinated by Candy Mittag. Fleece quilts were created by Margaret Hacking, Wanda Crews and others. All quilts were different and very colorful. A photo of each graduate was made possible by supporters of Friends of San Pasqual Academy. Each graduate received their senior portraits with great appreciation, since many of the foster teens do not have many photos of themselves. A much-needed lap top computer and printer, again made possible by the donors and supporters of Friends of San Pasqual Academy, were given to all 22 graduates.

The Class of 2020 graduates were greatly appreciative of these wonderful gifts from many caring individuals. They felt special. They felt important. They were very grateful for all the time, hard work and labor of love of others that made them feel remembered and recognized. Even though they did not have a traditional graduation, the continuous efforts of many made this unusual 2020 graduation something to celebrate.

Friends of San Pasqual Academy also is providing scholarships to all 22 graduates to further their education, whether it be a four-year university, a community college or a vocational school. Friends of San Pasqual Academy is currently supporting over 80 foster alumni of San Pasqual Academy in their pursuit of higher education. Some of the colleges that San Pasqual Academy alumni attend include UCLA, Cal State San Marcos, San Diego State, San Francisco State, Humbolt State, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Palomar, Mira Costa, Southwestern and other colleges. Some of the alumni have continued on to receive masters degrees, and again, are being supported by Friends of San Pasqual Academy.

Friends of San Pasqual Academy has been caring for the foster students and alumni for over 18 years. It is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The graduation rate at San Pasqual Academy is 97%, compared to the national average of foster graduates, which is 65%. Friends of San Pasqual Academy takes pride in this successful graduation rate. To learn more about Friends of San Pasqual Academy, visit its website at Donations can be sent to Friends of San Pasqual Academy, PO Box 8202, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067. -- News release