Graduating high school is an enormous feat. Year after year, we are privileged to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating Tartan Support Group (TSG) seniors at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School. This year’s Senior Celebration was held on Tuesday, May 23rd at St. Margaret’s Performing Arts Center foyer where we honored our three graduating TSG seniors: Ashley Bahena, Maria Cruz, and Aide Najera. These young ladies have shown tremendous leadership, academic achievement, and perseverance throughout their time at St. Margaret’s.
Upper School Principal Tony Jordan opened the evening with a welcome and a prayer. After a delicious dinner catered by Sundried Tomato American Bistros and Catering, our director Victor Cota shared valuable information about our Tartan Support Group program. Victor also acknowledged TSG alumni who were present at the celebration. He then introduced Jeff Jablonski, a mentor for our program and the Associate Director of College Counseling at St. Margaret’s. Jeff spoke about each senior, sharing heartwarming tidbits about their character and accomplishments.
As tradition, we had our Tartan Support juniors provide testimonials about the seniors. Jaime Del Rio described Ashley Bahena as “a hardworking and dedicated scholar who [he is] more than proud to call a friend.” Andrea Taylor reminisced about the advice, support, and friendship that Maria Cruz had given her over the past several years. Lastly, Bryant Villamil stated that Aide Najera’s “approach to life of facing life with a smile has helped [him] with [his] transition into St. Margaret’s.”
Brandon Torres, a Tartan Support Group graduate from 2014, was invited to be our keynote speaker for the evening. He spoke about his struggles as a student of color but described the support he found from the St. Margaret’s staff and from Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano. Brandon’s speech encouraged our students and left them feeling uplifted and inspired.
As the evening began to wrap up, Phoebe Larson, the Director of Admission and Financial Aid at St. Margaret’s, introduced the incoming Tartan Support Group students for the 2017-2018 school year. She spoke fondly of each student as they stood to be recognized. Will Moseley, the Head of School, closed out the evening with thoughtful words for our students.
Our Senior Celebration was a memorable evening for everyone in attendance, especially our seniors. Breakthrough is incredibly proud of Ashley, Maria, and Aide as they begin their college journeys this fall. We wish you all the best and will always be here to support you!
Note: The Tartan Support Group is a support system for students who attend St. Margaret’s on financial aid. In the 2016-2017 school year, 18 Breakthrough SJC students attended St. Margaret’s and were supported by the Tartan Support Group.