WATSONVILLE — Miguel Cahero is a successful, 35-year-old with a burgeoning sales career at Watsonville Chevrolet and plans to get a real estate license.
He found his passion for that career late in life, after a supervisor told him he had a natural ability to connect with people.
What he has lacked, however, is a high school diploma. At least that was until Thursday night, when he became one of about 100 people to receive high school diplomas and other certificates at the Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education graduation ceremony.
“I came back to adult ed because I wanted to accomplish my goals,” he said. “My goals in life and my academic goals. I have a passion to pursue my dreams, and I found I had to go back and finish what I didn’t finish in high school.”
Cahero said he was an easily distracted high school student who lacked the self-discipline needed to graduate.
“I was a late bloomer,” he said. “As I got older I found out that was OK, but it prolonged the process.”
Cahero said he started taking classes at the school in 2002, and was stymied only by the math requirements
“It’s been 15 years in the making,” he said. “Math to me was always like the bully in the hallway; when I saw it I tried to avoid it. But I realized I had to take the bull by the horns.”
Now, Cahero plans to study business at Cabrillo College, and hopes eventually to earn his MBA at UC Los Angeles.
“I really want to accomplish that goal,” he said. “And I will reach it. I will accomplish it.”
Cahero said he is planning a small celebration with his family, including his grandfather who lives in Mexico.
“You have no idea,” he said of earning his diploma. “I feel like I am being born a second time, I really do. Last night I thought, ‘this is the last time I will go to sleep without a diploma.’ This is something I have been waiting for, for a long time.”
The graduation ceremony was held Thursday night in the Henry J. Mello Center.
“We are very excited with the new graduates of 2017,” Director Nancy Bilicich said. “They’re ready to go forward and make a difference. They worked hard and perservered to reach their goals.”
“We’re very, very appreciative of the community support for scholarships and the school in general,” Bilicich added.
Graduate Devon Clarkson said he was getting his high school diploma.
“It feels good to complete this; this is an important day for me,” he said. “It was a lot of work but I got it done and that feels good.”
Lizbeth Pelcastre said she enjoyed her time at the school while working to complete her GED.
“They really helped me and worked with me,” she said. “Today is a big day for me and my family is very proud.”