LAUSD honors graduating seniors facing housing instability, homelessness

Anabel Munoz Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
LAUSD honors graduating seniors facing housing instability
More than 100 LAUSD graduating seniors who experience housing instability were honored at a recognition ceremony at BMO stadium.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Every year, thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District students ranging from elementary to high school age experience housing instability.

"This year, we had over 16,000 students experiencing homelessness," said Letisia Alvarado, coordinator for the LAUSD Homeless Education Office.

On Monday, more than 100 graduating seniors who understand that reality were honored at a recognition ceremony at BMO stadium.

"I'm a little nervous because I've never really been to an event like this. And it's a little bit different for me, but I'm excited to see what it's all about," said senior Kamryn Williams.

Williams and her mother currently live out of their car. Williams has juggled multiple jobs while achieving big milestones. On Monday, she received several scholarships. She was also accepted to Clark Atlanta University and plans on becoming a cardiologist. She credits her mother, counselor and school.

"I'm just grateful that the school I'm at now... it's very big on supporting students," said Williams. "...They've helped me a lot throughout the whole year."

Williams said she has received support with school supplies and celebrations like prom.

"My counselor...she helped me acquire a prom ticket and a prom dress and everything," said Williams.

The students heard from several speakers, including many who have experienced similar challenges. For example, Juan Mesa, who arrived to the U.S. from Colombia in 2019 and graduated with honors.

"I take pride of the personal and academic growth I have achieved despite the obstacles and the homelessness situation," said Mesa.

While the school district has identified thousands of students experiencing housing instability, many students and parents may not come forward due to different fears or stigmas.

"Go to your schools. Go to your designated homeless liaison. There are counselors that are waiting for you, to support you," said Alvarado.