Avenal High School celebrates 41 graduates receiving associate's degree

AVENAL, Calif. (KFSN) -- Avenal High School, a predominately Latinx school, celebrates 41 students graduating with either their associate's degrees or some amount of college credit.

Their principal says the success of their students was put in question years ago, but they've managed to prove people wrong year after year.

"There was doubts of whether students of this community would be capable of taking these college classes and be successful," says Principal Juan Ruiz.

About eight years ago, the dual enrollment program wasn't an option for Avenal High School students, but Juan Ruiz also wasn't the principal then.

In 2013, he came on board and worked hard to provide tools and opportunities for students to get ahead.

"I just want to make sure our students are competitive enough when they apply to any university or college and that once they are there that they are still competitive and have the knowledge they need to be successful," said Ruiz.
Students graduating with their Associate Degree, Associates of science - Transferable Degree, or some amount of college credit have become a norm.

This year, 41 students walked away with their diplomas and West Hills College degrees.

An accomplishment students like Jaime Alvarez say he worked hard for and he thanks his family for rooting him on.

"They've always strived for better and wanted to give me that example. They always taught me to be better than them, and that was the mindset. You gotta fight those voices in your head and strive for better," said Jaime Alvarez.

"Es un orgullo para mi muy grande y una bendicion." His mother, Irma Alvarez, says 'He brings me so much pride and is a blessing."

Ruiz says Alvarez is one of the countless Latino students who have what it takes to accomplish any goal. They just need the tools and support -- both of which Avenal High is looking to provide for years to come.

"Our students have raised to the occasion, and they prove everybody wrong. If you offer college classes at Avenal High, our students will take advantage and be successful," said Ruiz.

Currently, Avenal High has 120 incoming freshmen enrolled in one of the multiple pathways for college credit.

Alvarez will be attending Fresno State in the Fall of 2021.

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