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Martin County Celebrates the Class of 2021

September 7, 2021 | Jeffrey Good
Martin County Celebrates the Class of 2021 Hero Image

Martin County Acceleration Academies recently celebrated the Class of 2021, young learners who had persevered through adversity to earn their high school diplomas and lay the groundwork for futures in college, trade school, the armed forces and a variety of careers. We salute them and the dedicated educators who helped them realize their goals. Here is a look at all the grads, and the dedication MCAA team members wrote for each. The grads are listed in alphabetical order, with photos for those who were able to don cap and gown for the celebration. Photos by Annie Shaw:


Carissa Clark

Carissa is not the same young woman as she was when she first arrived here at Acceleration Academy. We have had the privilege of watching her bloom into the lovely, strong young woman we see before us today. Her compassion for others shines brightly as you get to know her; we hope that you continue to grow and evolve to show the world how amazing you are! Carissa has worked hard and takes pride in everything she does and values her work. We cannot wait to see what lies ahead for her future, and we hope she continues to keep her same amazing attributes and characteristics front and center for the world to see.


Gannon Coombs

Gannon got to this stage today on his own time, in his own way, creating his own experiences as he went. There were times when we weren’t sure if he was showing up to the academy just to hang out with us or to further his education, but here we are today, so it seems that education won. As we got to know Gannon, we learned what personal barriers he was standing behind and once the staff identified those, we removed them so he stood in front of success. He slowly learned that there were no obstacles that were too big and eventually, Gannon just started sharing his needs so the staff could better support him.  Towards the end of his educational journey, we saw a dedicated young man, advocating for his needs and pursuing his diploma with such vigor and passion.


Victor Diego

Victor is bright but he did not trust his intellect, but he was willing to trust us to help him grow his confidence.  Once he got started with the work, he never looked back, he took off running towards his diploma.  He was diligent, pleasant, and positive that he was going to meet his graduation goal.  He attended every opportunity for testing, completed a whopping 60% of his course work each week and even got a job during this demanding time. Victor, we hope you have learned to seize every opportunity, seek the support of good people and never, ever give up! You know now, that you really can do anything you put your mind to.  Don’t stop here Victor, keep achieving.


Michael Enriquez

Michael has a quiet demeanor, but his convictions run deep. He calmly approached his work despite our panic to keep him moving through each course. He is steadfast, polite, confident, and considerate.  As a bright young man and careful student of history, he was able to ace most tests easily, as he worked toward his goal.  Michael took time to take care of his younger siblings and juggled school with his job and life responsibilities. However through it all he would not let us give up on him, he answered the phone, he answered the door and accepted all help available. Michael plans a career in the military, and with his convictions and civic responsibilities he will go far. Principles matter to Michael and this diploma is just a first step into his future goals.


Casandra Favila

Casandra is kind, polite  and bubbly, and her smile is contagious.  Casandra had a hard time committing to school, but not to people. She was always responding and grateful for support when it came her way. Casandra has dreams of becoming a contractor, and her strength will get her there.  That same strength, along with her kindness, will open doors for her.  Casandra’s relationships are strong, and she aims to please. This trait will carry her far into her future successes. This diploma is a testimony to two important things about Casandra; that she believed in herself and that she can find good people to surround herself with to support all of her goals and dreams.


Iris Garcia

If you walked into the academy last year and talked with Iris, you would learn about a young woman with dreams and aspirations bigger than most adults. She wanted to graduate with honors, while having earned dual enrollment credits, with time to spare… she had plans and nothing was going to hinder her path to her future. Iris is an achiever, whether selling homes or supporting her community, Iris will achieve whatever she sets her mind to.  She is devoted to her family and they are devoted to her. With her shining personality, bright intellect and careful determination, Iris will be a success.  Continue that dedication, Iris,

 and all of your dreams will continue to become reality.


Elysonia Gomez

Elysonia has been a pleasure to work with from the beginning. As a student, she was always willing to work with our staff to accomplish her tasks and much of the time went well beyond the normal expectations and achieved highly on everything she set her mind to. She balanced earning her diploma with being a young mother and caring for her family. Elysonia is a very hard worker and has a heart of gold. Elysonia has owned her success, and it has been a pleasure working alongside her as she reached this important milestone.


Pedro Gaspar-Gonzalez

Pedro is a dreamer. No matter what interruptions have occurred in his life, he has followed his dreams. He worked on his courses and maintained his contact with us through some long and winding roads. Pedro is bright and capable and very entrepreneurial.  He has always wanted to own a business that somehow helps others in his home community. Pedro, by keeping connections and setting reminders and goals, you will find a great foundation to build on, just like you built your education.


Ryan Hinze

Ryan wasn’t originally excited about continuing school, however once he saw that he could take control of his destiny, his mindset started transforming as he began to plan and goal-set for his future. Ryan plunged through several courses at record pace, so excited about his next steps that he didn’t let any tough material slow him down or get in his way. He spoke with passion about the topics in his courses and current events happening in our world. Ryan started advocating for himself and got a full time job. At times his coursework was a second and his life adventures first, but in the end, his goals won. Ryan is graduating today, one year ahead of his intended graduation date. He is a young man of principle, integrity and determination. His motivations drive his success. Ryan, how far we’ve traveled from the kid we met on day one to the young man we’ve watched you grow up to be; it was a pleasure to accompany you on this journey and we hope you will pursue your future dreams with the same vigor.


Travis Holmes

Travis has always taken responsibility for his future and his present.  He has held a job as long as we have known him and has always been valued by his employers.  He is willing to work long hours and long weeks to be faithful to his job and his diploma. Travis plans on a career where he can use his hands and apply all of his learned skills. Along with that, Travis’s value and his success will be in his ability to push through and problem solve. Travis often advocated for his education and never gave up on his education. He is cunning and bright and will be successful in any venture he pursues.  No matter where life takes him, Travis will always make things happen more efficiently and run more smoothly.


Michael Koloboff

Michael is a dreamer for his future, and a young man who wanted an education. Michael was  a support to his siblings, and did not always work regularly on his coursework, but he has always had a plan. There were times he might not have believed it would happen and other times he moved forward because friends, family and staff were cheering him on. Here we are today, celebrating his accomplishments and supporting his next steps because Michael’s inner drive to succeed and earn his diploma was at the forefront. Michael watched his brother walk this very stage just a few months ago, and now today, it is his turn to take a bow, proudly accepting this validation of the hard work he endured to get here.


Rosa-Linda Loarca

Rosa-Linda’s success was embedded in her flexibility and determination to work around her family’s needs and schedules. Rosa-Linda never lost sight of her goal and didn’t let day to day barriers stop her from achieving. This proud mama needed flexibility of time and space to work in her courses. First thing in the morning, weekends, and late at night when her son was sleeping were Rosa’s prime school times; any moment she could break away for school, she did. This smart young woman has earned her diploma and her son will grow up hearing the story of how she worked day and night to get there and never gave up. Rosa and Jose, you have set a wonderful example for your son and have set your future path towards success and happiness. We wish your little family all the best!


Giovani Mijuares-Alvarez

If Gio’s smile could earn him a diploma, he would have graduated 5 years ago. His personality will get him far in this world, but the high school diploma he has now (finally) earned will get him even farther. Gio didn’t work steadily, but he worked hard, up to the very end. He took his time, completing little bits here and there, but his bursts of work along the way added up to earning his diploma. Earning this diploma even meant fighting against it from time to time, time was never on his side. Now that he has earned it, Gio’s diploma will be defined by him doing it his way, and coming through in the end to accomplish his goals.  After all, sometimes it matters that you finished, not how you finished.


Seth Mitchell

Seth’s quiet determination has affected all of us. His kind and steady work ethic got him attention as he devoured every course that crossed his path. His demeanor and the way he worked with all of us brought joy to the journey. We enjoyed our campus time together and zoom sessions discussing course materials and participating in the learning process with him.  Seth is a man of his word, keeping his promises and his pace.  He was determined and diligent while working through his lessons, writing notes, and spending hours on Zoom with our staff. Seth was determined to earn his diploma, despite traveling a rocky road, he overcame every obstacle and persevered to the finish line. We hope you will always keep that fighting spirit with you as you venture into your future success.


Jose Morales-Ramirez

Work, work, work and work some more.  Jose put in the work day and night to not only take care of his responsibility to his family but to also earn his high school diploma. When it would have been easier to throw in the towel, Jose dug in and didn’t give up, thanks to the support of his family. He has been a wonderful example to all of us to keep to your dreams, even while battling life’s demands. He works hard every day to be an example and caring father to his son.   Jose, please always pursue your passions that bring you joy and happiness. Jose is very smart and has many other qualities that can make him successful. Jose, continue to grow as a responsible adult, but be a dreamer, this world can use more men like you.


Antonio Perez

Antonio worked both onsite and remotely on his coursework, and was loved by all the staff members that had the pleasure of working with him. Antonio is a polite, kind, funny and caring young man, who’s personality would brighten a room. Antonio made purposeful moves to set himself up for success no matter the obstacle he faced and had such loving support from his family and friends. We are honored to be here, celebrating this great accomplishment he has made, both as a student and as a person; we’ve watched him grow up right before our eyes. It was a pleasure to accompany you on this journey and to witness the growth you have made. No matter what, you never gave up, never backed down, and never stopped trying.


Griffin Pogue

If charm could get you to a high school diploma, Griffin would have graduated the first day we met. Griffin quickly developed close relationships with our staff members, but he also constantly kept us on our toes. Griffin kept us guessing at what time he might show up or when he would decide to work, and as a result, we grew close with his support system too, the loving family that supported him and rallied around him through the tough times. Griffin taught us all so much about being a teenager today and beyond the chase, Griffin will always be remembered for the joy and positivity he brought to the academy; he entertained us all with his jokes and funny voice impressions. Griffin embraced support provided by the staff and took full advantage of evening Zoom hours, interaction with staff on site, and 1-1 time to work on activities and tests.  He was full of surprises, although it is no surprise that he is graduating today, especially with his military goals in mind. Griffin, we are so privileged to have been a part of your journey; we hope that you will never forget the hard work you put in to make your dreams come true.


Jeremiah Drake Rodriguez

Drake is a remarkable young man, and even though he encountered obstacles and struggles along his journey to becoming a high school graduate, he persevered and never gave up!

It would have been easy to throw in the towel, but he chose not to and dug into his coursework. He became weary, but leaned on others for support. Drake completed his coursework quietly and on his own time. He needed the flexibility and personal touch that MCAA offered to find his way, to find his groove and to realize his potential. His family and friends loved and supported him along his journey, and are so proud of him for his persistence! The growth Drake has experienced, not only academically, but in his character, will allow him to tackle any obstacle life throws his way.


Robert Spencer

Robert lives life on his own terms, but he thrives on a challenge and he takes every opportunity seriously. When offered a good job out of town, he took it, but he also accepted the challenge to get his diploma by the summer deadline.  This meant working late at night and weekends, but he was so resolved and passionate that he persevered through to earn his diploma. Robert has overcome any obstacle that was thrown his way and now his future is brighter as a result. No matter what life throws your way, remember what you learned while earning your diploma; there is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind and focus into it. We can’t wait to see the future you create and the happiness you find.


Bella Yanez

Bella had a unique experience living abroad but never gave up on her dream to earn an official United States high school diploma. Bella was tactful in her approach to earn her diploma, bringing amazing organization, past knowledge and a drive to succeed. Bella is a sweet and sincere person, who was always polite, positive and kind. Bella advocated for herself, taking ownership of her progress, GPA and graduation requirements. She worked late nights and weekends constantly, showing a steady determination to accomplish her goal. She has walked a long road filled with adversity and overcame every obstacle that stood in her way and made it through it all.  Bella is a very intelligent young woman, and we look forward to hearing about more of her future achievements and success.