| DO GOOD
By Elizabeth Jiménez
Grants and Communications Manager, Rancho Cielo
Enrique “Ricky” Ruiz was one of 22 students who were awarded high school diplomas from Rancho Cielo Youth Campus on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Ruiz also studied auto/diesel repair, a program that’s offered in partnership with John Muir Charter School.
During the ceremony, Ricky spoke to the graduating class and said, “2022 Graduates, I challenge you to build your goals throughout life that lead to happiness and prosperity. You are prepared as much as anyone can be!”. Ricky also shared his plans for the future, “The Rancho Cielo Auto/Diesel Mechanics program has molded me into a successful young professional and I will continue my education by going to Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in September to become a Diesel Tech.”
The commencement ceremony was held in Rancho Cielo’s Sally Hughes Church Amphitheater. Rancho Cielo’s vocational training programs are high-skill career technical programs for Monterey County students such as Ricky who seek a vocational training certificate as they earn their high school education.
Chris Devers, Rancho Cielo’s chief executive officer, addressed the audience during the ceremony. “Our programs tie core academic instruction into vocational training, which requires another layer of planning, collaboration, and delivery of service to the already difficult task of educating our young people in a meaningful and relevant way.” He additionally addressed graduates with the following words of encouragement “Take this accomplishment on earning your high school diploma and certifications and to go forward with strength in the world, knowing you can achieve anything you put your mind to and work hard at.”
The evening was memorable. The graduates were addressed by Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig and Rancho Cielo ́s Founder John Phillips delivered 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 earned more than $23,000 in merit-based aid, including the American Institute of Wine & Food and Philip & Shirley Ladd of The Filippi Foundation Scholarship, The Anthony Narigi Memorial Scholarship, the American Culinary Federation Scholarship, Hartnell Foundation Scholarships, the Restorative Justice Project Scholarship, and Rancho Cielo Scholarship Awards. A total of 14 graduates from all Rancho Cielo programs received a scholarship award valued from $1,000 to $3,500 to support their plans to continue their post-secondary education.
Rancho Cielo has become the school of choice for many of Monterey County’s Youth who are seeking a different option in high school education. Program graduates leave with a WASC accredited high school diploma offered through 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 offers a chance to earn diplomas and gain job 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, a future orientation, enhanced health and self-esteem, and a connection to our community.