City Council honors college graduates

0
278

The Buena Park City Council honored Class of 2015 college graduates during their meeting on Tuesday, June 23. After hearing about how the city of Garden Grove honored degree recipients at their meetings, Councilwoman Elizabeth Swift had the idea to bring this event to Buena Park.

“Having been a teacher that made excellent use of other teachers’ ideas in the past, I thought this would be a great thing for us to do, to honor our residents who have gone to college and now have a college degree,” Swift said.

The Buena Park City Council honored Class of 2015 college graduates during their meeting on Tuesday, June 23. After hearing about how the city of Garden Grove honored degree recipients at their meetings, Councilwoman Elizabeth Swift had the idea to bring this event to Buena Park.

“Having been a teacher that made excellent use of other teachers’ ideas in the past, I thought this would be a great thing for us to do, to honor our residents who have gone to college and now have a college degree,” Swift said.

For Swift, public recognition of college graduates would not only honor those who completed their higher education but would also boost the morale of the city as a whole.

“When [people]  see others who have completed a rigorous program, it might encourage others who may be a little bit discouraged halfway through,” Swift said. “It’s also important to show that people are getting more education in our community because as education increases, actually economics increases in our city because this last recession showed us when comparing cities, those with a lot of college graduates and those with fewer, the ones with fewer graduates had a higher percentage of unemployment and we can’t have that in Buena Park.”

The City Council honored a total of nine graduates, celebrating some who earned their bachelor’s degree and others who earned their master’s degree.

Some degree recipients were no stranger to City Hall as four of the five master’s degree honorees were city employees.

Administrative analyst Aaron France, for example, balanced working with the city manager’s staff, spending time with family, and even helping with planning the graduates recognition all while pursuing his master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in leadership through National University’s cohort program with the police department.

“I’m not going to say it was easy because my weekends were filled with paper writing and having a young family that was a challenge as well, but I’m glad I did it,” France said. “When the program wrapped up, it was just fantastic and it’s just a feeling of accomplishment. It’s been 10 years since I got my bachelor’s degree and I felt like it was time and now I have my master’s and maybe in 10 years, maybe a doctorate’s in order.

For others, however, the graduates’ recognition was their first time at city hall.

“It was my first time going to city hall and hearing about the event, and I wanted to come here right away. It was a tremendous honor and I’m glad the city did this,” honoree Lawrence Dimayuga said.

Dimayuga graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology, law, and society from the University of California, Irvine, but for him, the Buena Park community helped him get there.

“I think the city of Buena Park is definitely a very building and a very supportive community especially with my family and friends and I’ve met a lot of great mentors along the way,” Dimayuga said. “They’ve really helped me in making big decisions and supporting me through ups and downs and it’s all been worth it.”

Dimayuga, along with the other graduates, were called up individually during the meeting and awarded a certificate in front of their fellow citizens present and viewing at home on TV or online.

“Of course, I am proud as a mother and he is our first born and I’m very proud that he was recognized by the city we’ve lived in for 16 years. It’s definitely a good way to recognize young people these days and hopefully inspire people to do the same,” said Myra Dimayuga, Dimayuga’s mother.

For Myra Dimayuga, her son’s recognition during the meeting was not only symbolic of his perseverance through college but of his family’s perseverance through tough times.

“Just recently my husband had a stroke so it was something that posed a big problem for us but we hang on as a family and I told him that nothing should be an impediment to his goals and achievements in life. He persevered, which I’m proud of.”

The overall positive response to the graduation celebration from participants and the community marks the start of a city tradition that could possibly continue for years to come.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here