Pasadena, CA - On Saturday, May 25, 2013, before a crowd of over 900, the Quality of Life Center, Inc. "Bright Future Scholars" Leadership Development Program held its Graduation and Awards Luncheon at the Pasadena Convention Center. The processional was graciously led by Dean of Scholars, Dr. Sandra E. Thomas, assisted by Honorary Dean of Scholars, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
Attending mentors who have been of unimaginable assistance and support included: Congresswoman Judy Chu, California State Senator Carol Liu, Former California Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, Mayor of Pasadena Bill Bogaard, Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca, Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez, Altadena Sheriff Captain John Benedict, Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Larriva, Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Jon Gundry, Pasadena City Attorney Michele Bagneris, Pasadena Superior Court Judge Philip Soto, Superior Court Judge Lia Martin, and two retired Altadena Sheriffs Captains, Roosevelt Blow and Steve McLean.
One hundred and fifty proud scholars from all 11 local middle and high schools in the Pasadena Unified School District, as well as academic achievers from surrounding areas participated in the celebration under the leadership of the 2012-2013 Bright Futures Scholars President Trinity Skinner, a senior at Pasadena High School who will attend St. John's University, New York in the fall.
The ceremony was brought to life by emotional reflections from graduating senior scholars including: Amanda Becerra - Pasadena High School (University of California, Santa Barbara); 2013 Scholar of the Year, Christian Bedoyan - Pasadena High School (California State University, Los Angeles); Evin Davis - Pasadena High School (University of LaVerne); Daniela Garcia - Pasadena High School (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona); Dean Iracheta - John Muir High School (California State University, Northridge); Edana Jones - John Muir High School (Pasadena City College); Victoria Lepesant - Pasadena High School (Princeton University, New Jersey); Jewelia Murrell - John Muir High School (Spelman College, Georgia); Robert L. Palacios III - Pasadena High School (California State University, Northridge); and Justine Yarber - John Muir High School (University of LaVerne).
Returning alumni shared moving speeches that showed their dedication not only to the program, but to their upcoming future. The returning alumni included Samuel Batisla-Ong (University of California, Los Angeles), Nanor Mamdjian (Pasadena City College), and Ruby Karikian (California State University, Los Angeles).
A grand total of $20,000 in scholarships was awarded to this year's graduating seniors.
The graduation ceremony was filled with family and friends and was a beautiful way for the Bright Futures Scholars to end a highly successful academic year.
The Quality of Life Center, Inc. is now preparing to receive the 2013-2014 class – where two hundred and fifty new enrollees anxiously wait to enter the Bright Future Scholars Leadership Development Program.