“I didn’t think graduating was an option for me…. I had too many missing credits, and too much time had gone by.”
Students and guests who had the opportunity to listen to Private Jocelyn Caboga speak at the 2016 graduation ceremony, were probably stunned by this admission. After all, it was less than 6 months ago that she enrolled at the school and with only half of the credits she needed to finish high school.
She’d only made it to the tenth grade in public high school and was a discouraging 23 courses away from finishing. Anybody who heard her deliver the student commencement address that day wanted to know the same thing…How had she achieved such an impossible feat – and managed to enlist in the National Guard – all – in so little time?
“In public school, my teachers didn’t seem to care about us students…they just seemed to care about the class or course…not about us. I needed someone to care about me personally,” she shared.“When I came here, Mr. “A” (Amukamara) would sit and explain math concepts that I didn’t understand, and Joe, the Registrar, would not allow me to just come and waste time. He would make me get up and sit by myself if he saw that I was socializing too much.”
She got the same caring support from a National Guard recruiter. Her recruiter kept her name and phone number and would routinely check up on the progress she was making towards the goal she set for herself of finishing high school in 2016.
It wasn’t easy, she readily confesses. She relates that her toughest challenge was sticking to the long hours of work that was required in order to hit her goal of making up for all of her lost credits in 6 months time. That of course meant setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
Private Caboga summed up her accomplishment with a wonderful analogy.
“You have to create the sculpture that you want to see when it comes to your life and future.”
She explains that whether you make good decisions or bad decisions, the consequences of either path will either cause the sculpture to look like what an individual wants in life…or not.
Shady Cuellar, a student who is a senior this year, found the commencement address by Private Jocelyn Caboga to be truly inspiring.
“She kept coming no matter what…” Shady Cuellar reflects, “and she succeeded.”