Graduation: Stein graduation to feature co-speakers
by Denise Ellen Rizzo / Tracy Press
May 24, 2012 | 2233 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stein High students Patricia Campos (left) and Rhianna Schoon, shown with her daughter, Kailynn, look over textbooks from their classes at the alternative school. The pair will deliver the keynote speeches at this year’s graduation ceremony Wednesday, May 30. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Stein High students Patricia Campos (left) and Rhianna Schoon, shown with her daughter, Kailynn, look over textbooks from their classes at the alternative school. The pair will deliver the keynote speeches at this year’s graduation ceremony Wednesday, May 30. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Dedicated to their education, Rhianna Schoon and Patricia Campos, the co-speakers for this year’s Stein High School graduation ceremony, had to persevere to make their dreams become reality.

Schoon, 17, a dedicated mother of an 18-month-old baby girl named Kailynn, said she refused to give up on her quest to graduate high school and go to college to study nursing. But she said her first thought was always about her daughter.

“I wanted to focus on my daughter,” she said. “My counselor at West High School my freshman year told me about Stein, and I looked into it a little bit, but I didn’t want my daughter in day care.”

She said she took classes online for a year and two months, but that became too hard when Kailynn began to walk. It was time to find a school that worked into her schedule, and she turned to Stein, which has an on-campus day care program.

“After I saw it and met all the day care ladies, I loved it,” she said. “I transferred to Stein in my junior year. I felt comfortable leaving her there.”

Once again, she could focus on her studies.

Schoon said she also liked the smaller classes. She said it felt as if the students were there to focus on their studies, as opposed to socializing. Now, at the end of her junior year, she has completed all the requirements to graduate.

When a counselor told Schoon that school leaders wanted her to speak at graduation, she said she first felt frightened at the thought. Eventually, though, she decided to do it for Kailynn.

“She motivated me a lot,” she said.

Already attending the nursing program at San Joaquin Delta College, she said she wants to go for a master’s degree eventually in a quest to help others. She said her daughter, parents and two brothers will be at the ceremony Wednesday, May 30, to watch her accept her diploma.

Campos, 18, said she chose Stein High over a traditional high school after her family moved to Tracy in her sophomore year of high school from the city of Hayward.

Missing her friends, Campos said she often found herself in trouble with bad grades at Kimball High School. In her junior year, she realized Stein would provide a better environment for her educational needs.

“All the teachers are not there to be teachers, they’re also there to be friends,” she said. “I was comfortable; (they) helped you and accepted

you more, and they were there to help you.”

When asked to be a graduation speaker, Campos said she first thought it was a joke. Once she realized it was true, she said she felt honored and excited to accept the request.

Providing a large cheering section for Campos at the ceremony will be her mother and stepfather, sister and brother, father and stepmother, and six stepsiblings.

As for the future, Campos said she plans to attend California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in the fall and hopes to open a café.

Stein Principal Cynthia Johannes said she chose her graduate speakers because of their accomplishments. She said both Schoon and Campos excelled in school and stood out among the other students.

The final number of graduating seniors was not available by press time, but school officials estimated that about 100 would participate in the ceremony at 11:30 a.m. May 30 in the Stein High quad.
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