SAN JOSE, CA – Each year, the Santa Clara County Board of Education recognizes four Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) students who have overcome significant obstacles to reach their personal academic goals. The SCCOE is proud to announce this year's honorees.
"These students were selected for their academic improvement and achievement, leadership skills, attendance, citizenship, character, and perseverance. Each student honoree was presented with a plaque and an iPad to help reach future academic goals," stated County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan.
Program: Special Education
On March 21, Esme Plancarte was recognized for her tremendous personal and academic growth both in and out of the classroom.
"Esme is a bright artistic caring and empowered young woman who deserves to be recognized for her self-growth, determination, and ability to push through obstacles. It truly has been an honor to have the opportunity to support Esme not only on her educational journey but her life journey," according to Maureen Dolan, Principal of Foothill Cluster programs.
"Esme has been an inspiration to all our students," said Jojo Manosa, a Teacher at Foothill Annex. "She is a friendly, approachable, and extremely determined young woman with a goal not only to finish her education but to do it well."
While Esme has struggled throughout her academic career, her determination drives her.
"I want to be better than I am, there were a lot of obstacles, and a lot of people have helped me out," she says.
Esme is, "a great example of all the wonderful things that one can become and so we are proud of her," added Rosemary Kamei, President of the County Board of Education.
Program: Alternative Education
On April 18, Steve Hardin was recognized for his character and academic growth.
Steve was selected because he, "has consistently demonstrated the personal qualities required to be an outstanding student and citizen. He maintains a nearly perfect attendance record of 98%. At school, he is always very kind, courteous, and helpful. In class, he works hard to get his assignments done, which has earned him an impressive 3.90-grade point average. His schoolmates and teachers all agree that Steve's presence makes the school a better place," said Trustee Claudia Rossi.
"Steve is the epitome of excellence day in and day out. Regardless of the challenge, he is willing to put in the work to make sure he is reaching his full potential," said Jesse Ramos, Principal of Snell Community School, "I am very proud of Steve and his accomplishments."
Program: Migrant Education
On May 16, the County Board of Education honored Rolando Pablo Lorenzo as an outstanding example of perseverance, motivation, hard work, and dedication.
"Rolando walked to the US from Guatemala at the age of 14, not knowing a word of English, he was placed in an English Language Development class in ninth grade," said Trustee Grace Mah. "He not only took the challenge to learn English, but he also took the challenge of taking seven classes, and taking evening and summer school courses, while working part-time to help his uncle with expenses. Rolando carried a full academic load, and earned a 3.69-grade point average."
According to Liliana Ruiz, a specialist in the Migrant Education program at San Benito High School, "his achievements are impressive, he is an exemplary student with the best and most positive attitude."
"To me, education is the key to success, and it opens many doors," said Lorenzo. "I know that there are many obstacles in life, I say to myself 'don't give up' because those challenges are part of success … the migrant program has changed my life."
Rolando will attend college and plans on becoming a lawyer.
Program: Opportunity Youth Academy
On June 20, the County Board of Education honored Denise Lopez as the Opportunity Youth Academy Student of the Year.
Denise had dropped out of college at 14 due to medical issues, and arrived at Opportunity Youth Academy at the age of 19 with only 30 high school credits. In two years she was able to complete her credit deficiencies and graduate with all A's.
According to her teacher Cidalia Azevedo, "Denise will start college in the fall."
"I am excited to be going to college, but I am going to miss everyone, it was a great experience," said Lopez.
"Denise was selected for Student Recognition because she is a role model for other students. She is a supportive student who motivates her classmates to succeed," said Trustee Darcie Green. "Denise is a leader, and remarkable, and what she has achieved is nothing short of amazing," adds Trustee Green.
"It is truly moving to learn of the barriers that each of these students have overcome and it is a privilege to recognize them along with their families. I am proud of our principals, teachers, and staff who provide daily encouragement and support to our students in these and all of our programs. Student recognitions are one of the great highlights of our county board meetings because they are a reminder of who we exist to serve and is one small way we demonstrate our value of Students First," stated County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan.
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About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 23 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.
The Special Education program provides direct services to close to 1,500 students in Santa Clara County with a wide spectrum of learning differences including programs for deaf/hard of hearing, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, autism spectrum disorders, visual impairments, emotional disturbance, severe medical needs, and severe cognitive delay.
The Alternative Education Department provides educational services for students who have been unsuccessful in other educational settings for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to social, emotional, economic, and legal issues.
The Migrant Education Program serves over 7,000 students in six counties. Our job is to ensure that the federal goals are implemented locally in a way that provides the greatest benefit to the migrant students and their families in the counties that we serve. The general purpose of the Migrant Education Program is to ensure that migrant children fully benefit from the same free public education and support services provided to other children.
Opportunity Youth Academy has five sites in Santa Clara County to help students between the ages of 16-24 return to school, complete their diploma and identify possible college and career paths.