Far from Home and Family. Determined to Succeed. (Tempe, Ariz.)

Date: June 20, 2018

Since opening in 1996, more than 3,000 young men and women have earned their high school diplomas at Ombudsman Arizona Alternative Charter Schools. The Class of 2018 saw 306 students earn their diplomas – our largest graduating class ever!

For many students, Ombudsman offers the best path to help them overcome personal, economic, or academic challenges as they work toward their degree.

We’re featuring the commencement speeches of seven graduates from the Class of 2018 here on the blog this month.

This is Gil Songue’s Ombudsman Arizona Charter success story.

The journey toward graduation meant Gil would leave his loved ones and his native land. As a newcomer to the United States, he relied upon his belief in himself and his goals to take the steps needed to earn his diploma. Gil is now a graduate of the Ombudsman Charter Northwest Class of 2018 and will attend college in the fall.

This is the address he delivered during the graduation ceremony in Phoenix.

“Good afternoon everyone! My name is Gil Songue.

I feel honored to be here today. The past four years of high school have been extremely interesting, but this last year has been one of the most fulfilling. I am excited to be here today to celebrate one of the most important days of my life ‘Graduation’. Today is a day that we prove to ourselves that we can complete anything we put our minds to.”

“When I arrived at Ombudsman August 16, 2017, I realized it was one of the first steps towards finding myself. I wasn’t sure if I was going to graduate, but the day that I was assured that I would I experienced true happiness and unbelief at the same time. I would like to thank and recognize the teachers at Ombudsman Charter Northwest and our principal Mrs. De La Cruz for being committed in their jobs as teachers and for making sure to better not only myself but all the students that are here graduating today. They were able to show me the best way to accomplish my goal. They never gave up on me and that is something that I will never forget. Special thanks goes out to the teachers at Charter East and to their principal Ms. Thomas.”

“No matter what happens, we as individual students must not give up on ourselves because many times we think our path has ended, but it is just the start of a new path. When I arrived at Ombudsman I had many goals. These goals included graduating high school, earning a college scholarship, and becoming a professional basketball player. I arrived with a lot of wonderful thoughts, but was also able to overcome several obstacles during my time here.”

“Today, I am graduating with a high school diploma and today I am happy to announce that I earned a scholarship to a college allowing me to continue to further my education as well as play basketball.”

“This was my first-year experiencing being far away from my family and in another country. This was extremely difficult as I missed my family, holidays, and traditions. Being alone away from your family is a hard task because as young adults we look for the support of our parents and the advice of our mothers. This not an easy task not only because you are away from your family, but you experience a completely different culture. Oh, and one more thing I really miss the food.”

“I speak 5 different languages. These languages include Portuguese, Spanish, Lingala, Kimbundo and English. This is a benefit, but it was also a difficult task when completing my courses. Thanks to the help of several people in my life including my teachers I was able to overcome the language barrier that I faced during my time here.”

“Today, I am graduating with a high school diploma and today I am happy to announce that I earned a scholarship to a college allowing me to continue to further my education as well as play basketball. Today is one of the most important days of our lives as a student and person. This is an accomplishment and a gift to my mother in Angola.”

“I would like to thank all the parents present for believing and supporting their children and guiding them towards a successful future. I thank you all for joining us in celebrating this very special day. Graduates, live life to the fullest. Congratulations Class of 2018!”

Categories: Success Stories
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