Photo courtesy SDCCU

The San Diego College of Continuing Education will have a record-breaking 10,537 diplomas and certificates, when it holds its annual commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 7, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

More than 400 SDCCE graduates are expected to participate in the joint commencement ceremony with the San Diego Unified School District’s Adult School program.

For the first time, 10 high school seniors, who completed a pilot pathway through SDCCE’s Personal Care Aide certificate program, will walk in the SDCCE commencement. 

SDCCE is a provider of tuition-free workforce training — nearly half of the 30,000 students served annually are made up of immigrants, refugees, and English language learners.

From skilled trades and information technology to everything in between, adult students benefit from hundreds of free career certificate programs and classes. 

“The SDCCE set me up for my whole life,” said Alexis Primo-Hawkins, who is graduating with certificates in child development and business and who was selected to be the student speaker. “I prayed for this moment; it’s very surreal that I put myself here.” 

Primo-Hawkins, who is raising 5-year-old and 4-year-old children, immigrated to San Diego from Guyana and found success opening a home daycare business. The pandemic, however, forced Primo-Hawkins to close her doors in 2020.

That’s when she found SDCCE.

Primo-Hawkins found a calling advocating for other student-parents at the state and local levels. She continues taking classes at San Diego Mesa College, where she’s on pace to graduate with an associate degree next fall.