Graduates pose at the Balboa Park ceremony honoring their accomplishment. Photo credit: Urban Corps of San Diego via Facebook

More than 50 conservation corps members have graduated from the Urban Corps Charter School, earning a high school diploma, officials said this week.

The schools, with local sites in San Diego, Escondido, National City and Vista, hosted the ceremony at Balboa Park in partnership with Urban Corps of San Diego County and the California Conservation Corps.

Corps members, those aged 18-26, work and receive paid job training four days a week in the fields of recycling, community improvement, urban forestry and construction through the Urban Corps or the CCC, while attend classes one day a week.

The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and has a low student-to-teacher ratio, making it an ideal learning environment for its accelerated pace.

Teachers seek opportunities to connect classroom learning with the vocational skills the Corps members gaining while working in the community.

“Many of our Corps members have families with children and need to be able to earn an income while working towards their high school diploma,” added Kyle Kennedy, CEO, Urban Corps of San Diego County.  “Our program allows that. Not only are they paid for their work, but they learn new job skills that they can use to gain employment after they graduate.”

The graduation, held at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in the park, included a traditional cap-and-gown ceremony for the 54 participants. Dr. Francisco Escobedo, executive director of the National Center of Urban Transformation, made the keynote address.

“These students are inspirational. They have accomplished so much and it is very gratifying to know that we have helped them with their education and put them on the road to success,” Dan Thomas, the school’s executive director, said.

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