Graduation Event Wrap Up
Session Beginning Date: Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Graduation Date: Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Location: Marine Park Auditorium, 1406 Marine St.,Santa Monica, CA 90401
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Emcee: Steve Rene, Business Development Trainer
Guest Speakers: Sindy Shell, CDD Assistant Director
Names of Instructors:
Cri-Help- Max, David, Karisa, Meghan
Walden House- Austin, Srini, Dawn and Derin
House of Uhuru- Chance & Lori; Carrie & David
Sindy Shell, CDD’s Assistant Director, kicked off the event by telling the audience a bit about herself and her recent work with CDD. She then introduced the Walden House Women’s Choir, whose rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”, was one of several highlights of the evening. The conclusion of their performance brought a standing ovation from both graduates and guests at the ceremony.
Steve Rene, a business development trainer, was the keynote speaker. His talk stressed the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and continuing to strive for life accomplishments. At times Mr. Rene’s words served as a personal challenge to attendees, as he told them to keep setting and working towards goals that would ultimately better their lives and the community around them.
As Frank Baldenegro was introduced to be the first of the CDD student presentations, Walden House instructors looked on with immense pride. Six weeks prior, Frank arrived at the first CDD teaching session apprehensive, and at times appeared disinterested in learning the material. However, Frank continued with the course, fulfilled all requirements, and became a model student for the class. He told the audience that he was “sick and tired, of being sick and tired” as he outlined his plan for success that concluded with round of applause from all in the building.
William Glass of the House of Uhuru and Daniel Landeros of Cri-Help were the final CDD student presenters. William spoke of his deep regret as he lost precious years battling his addiction. As he outlined his plans for success, which included furthering his education with the goal of being employed by the television industry, William’s positive attitude and charm chased away the painful words he had spoke about just minutes before.
A mix of pride, regret, and inspiration swept over the ceremony during the course of the evening. CDD’s graduates were full of smiles as their names were announced and certificates awarded. The ceremony concluded with graduates embracing their loved ones and posing for pictures with their classmates and instructors. As the sun set, students, instructors, and family mingled over pastries and beverages; all in attendance looked toward the future full of hope brought by the new graduates.