We congratulate our 2012 graduates! Here are some reflections from grads, post grads, and students still in school, on this school year.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first day of senior year I remember I was wearing my red tank top with a cardigan over it. I wore khaki shorts. I felt like king of the school – it was my senior year! I had to make the best out of it. But still, it still hadn’t hit me that I was getting old.

As senior year passed along I felt something. I felt a change. A change of person, that I’m not who I used to be anymore. I’ve matured, and I must focus on my future. Playtime is over. I must take my own responsibilities, find new friends, anything to keep me on track and keep me from going off track. And then graduation, even though I graduated yesterday, it still hasn’t hit me that I am a graduate.

Everything is going too quickly. I want to pause for a moment. Life, or should I say the teenage and high school life went by too quickly, like a blink of an eye. I’m already in my cap and gown. Now it’s time to see if I’m able to go into the real world, to see how strong of a person I am. It’s not an ending, but just the beginning of this life I will be living.

-Richard Moua
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first day of school I didn’t really think about how it was going to be my last year. I remember my friends and I kept saying over and over again how this was our last year and time was going to fly by. I really didn’t care, I just liked that it was our first day and I wanted to go around and see all my other friends.

My main group of friends had five of us including me, and we immediately established that we wanted to take a lot of pictures so we could always remember what we did. I think most of us seniors still felt like juniors. I don’t think we started to feel like seniors until we got maybe a month or two into school.

After those two months I couldn’t wait until school was over and I didn’t have to wake up early anymore. Funny thing is, now that the school year is over and I have graduated, I feel kinda weird. I know I’m done with high school but at the same time it still doesn’t seem real. Maybe once I start college I’ll start to feel like a college student.

I don’t regret anything that happened the past year because even though there were very tough times, that’s what made it memorable and I learned from those events. I’m excited to start this next chapter in my life.

Before I started high school I always said, “Imagine when I graduate from high school.” Well, now I can just imagine what will happen when I graduate from college.

-Ellen Carretero
[dropcap]G[/dropcap]raduating from high school is an enormous step for me. It was truly one of the best years out of high school and the most memorable year. This year I’ve really gotten out of my comfort zone and done a lot of things that I wouldn’t usually do. It has greatly impacted me as a person, as I took lots of risks and gained opportunities.

Looking back, the most memorable thing senior year was going to UC Berkeley for an education camp for two days. There I made new friends, learned a lot, and was prepared to take on college.

Something that I would do over was prom. I think  I should’ve known what to expect and be prepared for it. It was really hectic at first but it only got better throughout the night. Only if I knew what to expect then I would have done more to prepare or get ready for it. Another thing I would like to change is graduation. It would have been more epic if my family had been in the seats where I could actually see them.

This school year, it was hard to meet all the deadlines that colleges threw at us. I’ve learned that it only gets harder and I need to never give up.

This next year, I am ready to head off to college at UC Davis. I believe it is a great opportunity for me to explore myself and at the same time learn to succeed in life.

-Vang Yang
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] think that this year has prepared me for the new challenges that will come my way next year. This school year I have learned a lot about myself. This school year I have accomplished a lot. Next school year I hope that I will learn even more about myself and accomplish even more and figure out what exactly I am going to do with my life.

It’s been a full year since I graduated from high school. It’s been a full year out of school wondering what’s next in this journey of life. Is it to start off fresh in college? Or is it going to be the same, just stuck on what to do next? During my senior year of 2011, I had everything planned out. I knew which way I was going and how I was going to get there and to top it off. It all depended on if I was accepted to college.

But from then to now my whole mind set flipped from secure to feeling lost. Since graduation I’ve gotten a lot of letters from different schools and academies. When I first noticed this I felt like it was a huge achievement,  but now I feel trapped in my own mind instead of controlling it. I have many gifts and talents which means I have many different paths to choose from. This scares the living hell out of me, not because I’m frightened of the opportunity, but because I wonder when I make my decision if I made the right one.

It’s been a full year and still no foward movement at my life.

Yes, I’ve achieved some great goals, this year but really I’m still in the same state of mind I was at graduation. It’s like I am my dream. I want to succeed, but a huge mental block, my physical appearance, won’t let me by.

-Kevin Shelton
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his school year was a roller coaster. Everything went by so fast, but at the same time it went by so slowly. I look back and I see the old Jane on the first day of school; where I didn’t care about anything and one of the only reasons why I went to school was because I had to. But now everything is so different, not only for me, but for my whole family because the Jane I used to be in the beginning of the school year lead me into many bad choices instead of the good ones.

Now I’m headed to many good choices. And I made great friends that are the best. This year has no words to explain, but I can only try. Love, sadness, happiness, joy. It’s a feeling I want to keep forever in my heart and never let go. I’ve grown up so much this year because of everyone I have next to me. I now think ahead and plan my steps I make instead of doing whatever seems best in the moment. Now I’m a new me. This year, I’ve changed from the girl who walked down the halls of middle school with a striped purple shirt with blue skinny jeans, to the girl with a gray cardigan with a black tank top with another pair of skinny jeans and black flats. So many changes with such an up and down year.

-Jane Carretero
The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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