Welcome teachers, students, and parents to the 2019 Cal Hills Graduation! I'm so proud of all of the students who are graduating with me today. It wasn't an easy ride for us, but I'm so glad we made it until the end. My freshman and sophomore year of high school, I wasn't what you would call an “honor roll student.” I didn't have any motivation in school, so I did a lot of bad things. Things were hard for me in the beginning. I never saw graduation as an option - I always thought I was going to drop out, because I knew I didn't have the grades or credits to graduate.
On my 16th birthday is when my life changed forever. I found out I was pregnant. Finding this out was the craziest, scariest thing I have ever had to face in my 16 years. Nobody talks about getting pregnant at such a young age, and getting pregnant in general was something I never thought would happen. Once I found out I knew I didn't have to start trying for only me, but also for my baby that was on the way. People always doubt teen moms saying that “oh once you get pregnant you’re gonna drop out, you’re gonna go on welfare, you’re not gonna be a good mom, etc...” But that wasn't the case for me. After finding out I knew that I had to step up and do everything I could to to be the best mom and graduate for my daughter. In that moment I made a promise to myself that I was going to do everything I could to graduate. I made the decision to come to Cal Hills because I knew it was the smartest choice for me and my daughter. Things were hard as the months went by, people knew me as the “pregnant girl” - I was no longer Angelina. It didn’t bug me as much because I had the support of my friends and the Cal Hills staff beside me. I was doing really good in school. I was getting straight A’s, doing extra credit work, and even taking after school classes. The end of November hit and it was time for me to go on Independent Studies! Making that change didnt stop me, I pushed harder in school making sure I was always ahead so that when my daughter was born I would never fall behind. I ended up making Superintendent’s Honor roll by having a 4.0 g.p.a. and went from being behind in school to being ahead.
December 3rd was the day my daughter Anesia came. I stopped school for about two weeks to take care of her and about a month after she was born is when I started bringing her to school with me so I could keep doing my work. Mrs. Augustine was a big help while I was pregnant and even for a few months after. She helped me get ahead in school, worked around my schedule of being a new mom.
Senior year came and I was finally able to go back to school and the best part about it was that Anesia was put in daycare, paid for by the school. Being back in school I had a lot of support from my family, friends, and teachers. Moving to Cal Hills was the best decision I had made for my daughter and me! This isn't just a school, this is a community, a family and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to be a student here. By coming here I had the opportunity to play sports, join clubs, still be able to get A’s and B’s, and even won a scholarship.
I want to thank Mrs. Bence for being my biggest supporter at school for senior year. In the beginning we didn't get along but eventually you became like a school mom to me. You were the person I told everything to and you would actually listen. I would tell you about all my video ideas for youtube, my family problems, my social life problems and you helped me out with everything. You would even remember things I told you about that I didn't remember. You got me different colored clips for my birthday and the fact that you did that and payed attention to the things I liked really affected me in a good way. I grew a strong connection to you. Graduating and knowing we're not gonna be having our everyday talks is going to be tough, but I want to thank you for everything and helping me get through senior year. I will always remember you.
I would also like to thank Jean for being the best thing that's happened to me since I had my daughter. You loved me when I didn't love myself, when I was at the lowest part of my life and for that I love you even more. I'm so thankful to have you by my side.
Thank you Luis and his family, Alexa, Ina for doing everything you can for me to make sure im ok , dad for loving me and being the best you can for me since I am your only daughter, Mrs. Carty for getting me as far as I am now, and the rest of my family for coming out today and being such a great support system and being a reason why I’m graduating today. All of the people I just named have pushed me from the beginning of this journey and never gave up on me and for that I thank you guys so much because I know i'm not the easiest to deal with.
Mom, I know we have our arguments and disagreements but thank you for everything you've done for me. Being a single mom to two kids and me getting pregnant at 16 wasn't easy for you but you never gave up you pushed hard for us and I appreciate you and everything you've done for my daughter and me.
Dre, your the best brother any sister could ask for. You help me out so much with Anesia and the bond you guys have is endless. Your hard on me because you love me even though you won't admit it and i'm so thankful to have you. Things would be boring without you so thank you for everything you've done as a brother.
Lastly Anesia, I know your not gonna understand anything i'm saying but I wanna thank you especially. You’re the main reason why I’m here today. Finding out I was having you was the scariest but happiest moment of my life. Everything I do is for you and I’m gonna continue to push and be the best mother I can for you.You’re the best daughter anyone could ask for and just know I will always be there to love and support you. Thank you Anesia Villanueva, I love you.
If you have been in my life and supported me and my daughter this thank you is for you too. I can't imagine my life without all of you guys and I can't imagine what my life would be like without Cal Hills. You guys accepted me and made me the person I am today. This school is amazing and I’m glad that I got to come here. After today I will be going to Mission College then transfer to a 4 year university to get my bachelors degree and eventually become a homicide detective. This is just the beginning for all of us graduating today, but it's a good start. We didn’t give up thing’s might’ve got hard but we proved everyone wrong. Thank you and I hope you all have a wonderful day. CLASS OF 2019, WE FINALLY DID ITTTTT!!!!