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Graduates in robes clap

College & Career Readiness division celebrates students

Yakima Valley College celebrated more than 150 students completing its English Language Acquisition, High School+ and GED programs since the fall of 2019 during a Celebration of Achievement on June 2.

The event, held for the first time since the pandemic, brought students along with family and friends to the YVC Conference Center to honor their achievements.

Marc Coomer, dean of College and Career Readiness, told students that he admired them for not only deciding to continue their education, but their commitment to completing their program.

“A lot of us set goals. We have a vision. We have a dream. But it doesn’t just happen,” Coomer said. “It takes the grit. It takes the commitment. It takes the willingness to put in the extra hours [and] to sometimes forfeit some other important things in our lives so that we can achieve the goals that we set out to achieve and you all here today have done that.”

Graduate hugs another individual
A student celebrates with their family and friends following YVC's June 2 ceremony honoring those completing the English Language Acquisition, High School+ and GED programs.

Juana Iris Alvarez, who completed the ELA program in Fall 2022 before transitioning into GED classes, spoke at the ceremony about deciding to enroll in English classes so that she could help her children with homework and find better work opportunities.

“I knew I needed to be persistent,” Alvarez said. “I learned that I was wrong about myself when I said I could not learn another language. Now I know that if I set my mind to do something, I can do it.”

Diana Avalos, who completed the High School+ program in winter 2023, also shared her experience of having YVC instructors support her and cheer her on as she earned her high school diploma.

“I will always be thankful and I learned a lot about myself in the program,” Avalos said. “I realized that I am strong…. I want to set new goals for myself. I want to become a nurse. I know I can do it now.”