At FLY, it has always been a special honor and privilege to support our youth as they strive toward their educational goals. Despite the exceptional circumstances of this school year, the FLY class of 2020 had 43 high school graduates!

Three youth, Jose from Santa Clara County, Zaniyah from Alameda County, and Manuel from San Mateo County, were the winners of our graduation photo contest. Here is praise from our staff for the three winners:

Jose graduated from San Jose High School. Jose has grown so much during his time in FLY’s Leadership Training Program. He has worked hard this year to catch up on his credits and improve his grades so he could graduate on time. Jose is still figuring out his next steps after high school but one thing he knows is that he wants to continue working on his music.

Zaniyah was one of our newest peer leaders who’s continuing as a Returning Peer Leader next year to support and mentor other youth in the Leadership Training Program. Zaniyah exudes such positivity and worked very hard to graduate from Emerge/ Quest Academy. Zaniyah is planning on working, getting her own place, and exploring college and career options.

Manuel has shown he is a true leader. His willingness to participate in any FLY event has shown how dedicated he is. He has an amazing ability to communicate well with others and has helped us recruit new youth for this year’s Leadership Training Program. He will be attending Skyline Community College in the fall.

Their accomplishments are especially inspiring considering the challenges our youth faced. After the pandemic hit, instruction was delayed for weeks in many schools. Youth lost access to resources like libraries, tutoring, and nutrition programs. And the digital divide became painfully obvious in long delays in receiving Chromebooks, laptops, and wifi access.

Our youth dealt with all of this while adjusting to enormous changes and uncertainty in their lives. We’re so grateful for how quickly our staff brought extra resources and support to the youth, and how they pivoted to make our “high-touch” programs work in a “no-touch” world so that kids still had FLY to depend on.

At FLY’s virtual graduation ceremony, FLY alumni speaker Miracle Te’o summed it up the best:

The greatness that led you to graduate will be in you forever.

Thank you all for your exceptional support of FLY this spring. We are grateful you share our belief in the greatness of our young people!