The old saying 'better late than never' proved true for San Bernardino City Unified School District's (SBCUSD) summer graduates on Wednesday, June 24. The San Gorgonio High School gymnasium played host to 109 graduates and their friends and families.

The graduates came from eight different high schools across the district, with each wearing their own school's colors. These included four who completed the English-learner summer program.

The air conditioning failed to keep things cool in the gymnasium. But Superintendent Dale Marsden said to those in attendance that was because, "there are 109 'degrees of success' right here in front of us making hope happen in the city of San Bernardino."

Along with the mercury, so has risen SBCUSD's graduation rate: The district now has a graduation rate of 91.8 percent, according to Marsden.

Assistant Superintendent Kennon Mitchell advised the graduates to dream big but not 'sleep in.'

"You cannot have big dreams for your life and sleep in. You'll miss the opportunities available to you to help you achieve your goals," Mitchell warned. "You cannot have big dreams and not wake up on a mission every day to work hard to accomplish your dreams."

SBCUSD President Abigail Medina thanked the parents for giving their students the last push needed for them to graduate.

"We know the fact that sometimes waking up these students in order to make sure they're on time (is hard), to make sure that they're graduating. So thank you all for your help and support."

Sierra High School graduate Luis Reyes advised his peers to not get stuck in the past.

"No matter what we did yesterday, we always have to find a way to beat our own records."

Sierra graduate Maliyah Vargas reminded her peers that their hardest work lay just ahead.

"Many of us think this is the end of our lives, but really it's only the beginning. We are now entering this adult life that our family, friends, parents, teachers and job supervisors prepared us for. So let's make sure we give ourselves a pat on the back along with the ones that helped us along the way."

San Gorgonio graduate Winzy Salazar made sure to thank her teachers for not giving up on her.

"Thanks to you, I'm officially graduating from high school. I look forward to the many things in life (I hope to accomplish)."

They may not have graduated on time, but Marsden understands this and appreciates those who helped make their graduation happen nonetheless.

"Thank you, thank you, all the parents, guardians, family members, supporters, friends and colleagues pushing hard to make it happen. We see you and we thank you."

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