| DO GOOD
By Elizabeth Jiménez
Grants and Communications Manager, Rancho Cielo
Enrique “Ricky” Ruiz was one of 22 students who graduated from high school at Rancho Cielo Youth Campus on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Ruiz also studied automotive/diesel repair, a program offered in partnership with the John Muir Charter School.
During the ceremony, Ricky addressed the graduating class and said, “Graduates of 2022, I challenge you to set lifelong goals that lead to happiness and prosperity. You are as prepared as anyone can be! “. Ricky also shared his plans for the future: “The Rancho Cielo Auto/Diesel Mechanics program has turned me into a successful young professional and I will further my education by going to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in September to become a diesel technician.
The opening ceremony was held in the amphitheater of Sally Hughes Church in Rancho Cielo. Rancho Cielo Vocational Training Programs are highly skilled technical career programs for Monterey County students like Ricky who seek vocational certification as they graduate from high school.
Chris Devers, General Manager of Rancho Cielo, addressed the audience at the ceremony. “Our programs link basic school education with vocational training, which requires another layer of planning, collaboration and service delivery for the already difficult task of educating our youth in meaningful and relevant ways. He also addressed the graduates with the following words of encouragement: “Take advantage of this accomplishment to earn your high school diploma and certifications and to move forward powerfully in the world, knowing that you can achieve whatever you put in your mind and work hard for.
The evening was memorable. The graduates were addressed by Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig and Rancho Cielo founder John Phillips gave a heartfelt speech highlighting the school’s history. RJ Guess, CEO of John Muir Charter School, presented the high school diplomas to the class of 2022.
This year’s graduating class have won over $23,000 in merit aid, including the American Institute of Wine & Food and the Filippi Foundation’s Philip & Shirley Ladd Scholarship, the Anthony Narigi Memorial Scholarship, the the Culinary Federation of America, the Hartnell Foundation Fellowships, the Restorative Justice Project Fellowship, and Rancho Cielo Scholarships. A total of 14 graduates from all Rancho Cielo programs received scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $3,500 to support their plans to pursue post-secondary education.
Rancho Cielo has become the school of choice for many young people in Monterey County who are looking for a different option in high school education. Graduates of the program leave with a WASC-accredited high school diploma offered by its academic partner, John Muir Charter School, and the opportunity to enter the workforce and/or enroll in post-secondary education. Rancho Cielo works with students who learn differently and provides a chance to earn degrees and gain professional skills. Students learn in a safe and supportive environment that affirms them, builds self-esteem, connectedness and belonging. Rancho Cielo’s goal is to create an atmosphere where students can develop pro-social desires, future orientation, improved health and self-esteem, and a connection to our community.