Vic and I last week attended graduation ceremonies for the Orange County Conservation Corps. Our allergies must have been acting up, because tears were streaming down both of our faces as we listened to the stories about the many challenges and obstacles that these young men and women overcame on the path to their high school diplomas.
I have worked at the Orange County Conservation Corps since 2005, teaching the new hires about local conservation issues. I teared up when I saw 112 of my Corps members dressed in caps and gowns.
The Corps has never graduated that many. To put this in perspective, last year we graduated 55, and the year before that, 45. When I first started working at the Corps, graduating classes were typically 10 to 12. What a change. The Corps now enrolls the students in classes before hiring them for work, and we seem to now get more motivated young people.