A ceremony on Friday, August 18, 2017 at the Valencia Gardens community room acknowledged the sixteen young people who completed the first dev/Mission cohort. Photos by Tony Bear!
Friday, August 18, 2017, a commencement ceremony was held at the community room of Valencia Gardens. Sixteen students graduated from the inaugural cohort of dev/Mission, a free training program where people ages 16 to 24 learn technology skills and critical career skills.
The graduates are:
- Lorena Benitez
- Leslie Canjura
- Angelica Ceja
- Jessica Colorado
- Anthony Khieu
- Mantasha Lakdawala
- Zefu Li
- Henry Lopez
- Elisa Mendoza
- Julian Morrisette
- Nancy Okun
- Cesar Partida
- Mellany Quiroz
- Noe Roman
- Prisila Simental
- Marcell Urbina
Marcell Urbina, a dev/Mission student and the master of ceremonies, started the event by thanking everyone who participated in the program, and thanking the family members and others who were in attendance at the graduation.
The founder and Executive Director of dev/Mission, Leo Sosa, gave an impassioned talk, where he encouraged the students to seize every moment as they put their newly found knowledge to work.
Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, congratulated the students, and thanked them for having the drive and initiative to complete the course. Mission Housing is a founding sponsor and partner in dev/Mission.
The evening’s keynote speaker was Jaime Martinez, CEO of TekLeap, a premier Information Technology firm. Martinez shared with the students his humble beginnings as a young native of El Salvador — what he called a “jungle boy” — who came to the United States with his parents, and then was forced to climb the social ladder. He encouraged the students to remember their roots, and reach back to give back.
Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing, expressed her profound pride in the accomplishment of the cohort. She was effusive in her praise for the young women who completed the course, and encouraged them to stay resolute in their climb up the tech world ladder.
Coding instructors Christian Salas and Yaritza Perez showcased websites created by the students.
Several of the instructors, volunteers and partners of the dev/Mission program were acknowledged, and then the student certificates were handed out.
The evening concluded with a buffet of food from San Jalisco Mexican restaurant.