Celebrating the Class of 2022
Published in Chinese in Sing Tao Daily.
By Dr. Vincent Matthews
Graduation is a special time for students to celebrate the years of hard work that it takes to grow and advance to this significant milestone. And it’s not just special for our graduates. Families and friends get to appreciate the accomplishments of loved ones. For teachers and school staff, this rite of passage is the culmination of their commitment to lifting up the next generation.
Over 4,000 graduating high school seniors in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) will graduate in the great outdoors the first week of June at two different sites and ensure that all families have a quality experience at graduation that is professionally produced. Events will also be livestreamed so families of our graduating seniors near and far can watch from home.
At all grade levels, SFUSD strives to prepare our graduates by developing the characteristics and competencies we call our Graduate Profile. SFUSD works to help each and every one of our students graduate ready for career and life; ready to be their best selves; ready to create; ready to lead and work with others; ready to tackle a changing world; and ready to learn, think and grow.
Today, I want to introduce you to just a few members of the class of 2022 who each exemplify one or more of these readiness traits in their own unique way.
Jazmine Guzman’s passion for creating cultural artwork began in elementary school. As a resident of the Mission District, Jazmine grew up amid the colorful inspiration of houses, grocery stores, schools, and alleys adorned with murals. She continued her artistic expression through childhood with the Mission District's annual Carnaval parade. At John O’Connell High School, Jazmine worked with school administrators to advocate for more diverse arts opportunities and served as a student representative for SFUSD’s Arts Department. In that role Jazmine supported art educators by enhancing their curriculum with lesson plans relevant to their students.
Growing up in a small village in Sierra Leone, Zainab Wisniewski didn’t have access to textbooks or academic support, and was told by adults that “girls weren’t allowed to play sports.” When she first enrolled in San Francisco International High School as a freshman, Zainab described herself as shy, scared, and nervous. She joined her school’s International Committee and Peace Club and the after school program, Community Youth Center. As part of developing leadership skills, Zainab organized school events, helped other students with their homework, and gave presentations to students in advisories. She learned that sports are not just for males and quickly took a liking to soccer, volleyball, and badminton.
At the start of Carlos Huang’s freshman year at Balboa High School, he struggled to speak and understand English beyond an occasional greeting. With support from his English teachers and an after school program for newcomer students, Carlos emerged with a strong grasp of the language and soon discovered his love of math and politics. When taking his first American Democracy course, Carlos says his teacher used his own pedagogical knowledge to give students a chance to fully think outside the box and practice critical thinking in regard to American politics and economics.
When Un leng Sit immigrated to America at the age of 10, she had a difficult time with the language barrier. With the support of her teachers and the books in her school library, Un leng forced herself to step outside of her comfort zone. At Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, Un leng participated in the JCYC Talent Search program for college preparation and career exploration support. With her teachers’ and counselors’ encouragement, Un leng challenged herself to take AP classes and community college classes. Un leng says her counselors also encouraged her to take advantage of youth programs to gain skills outside of the classroom, including Youth for Community Engagement (YCE) Club, Youth for Single Room Occupancy (YSRO), and Newcomer Club (NCC). As vice president of the YCE Club, Un leng planned and facilitated bilingual tablet classes to teach seniors how to use up-to-date technology.
During her time as a student at Lincoln High School, Joanne Yen was determined to become involved in the community and completed an internship with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 9. While volunteering at the Mission Food Hub through her internship, Joanne was introduced to a SFUSD Health internship at the SFUSD Early College program. As a result of these opportunities, Joanne was inspired to help co-found Lincoln High School’s Key Club, organize in-person and virtual campaigns for low-wage workers with Youth MOJO (Movement in Justice and Organizing), and present on the AAPI ethnic studies mandate at AAMPLIFY (Asian American Advocacy and Mentorship).
A participant of the decade-long Mandarin Immersion Program in SFUSD, Tashi Gotlieb of Lowell High School took the initiative to complete 10 college classes online during distance learning. He has been a member of Lowell’s Parliamentary Debate team; Community Service Officer of the BuildOn club, which builds schools in developing countries; a member of the Boy’s State program; and participated in summer internships working at BlackRock and SF Transit Riders. Tashi says his proudest characteristic is the growth mindset that set him on a path to improve San Francisco’s public transportation system. His ground-level activism, aiming to solve problems in his community, earned him the 2021 Rider-First Award from regional public transportation action organizations.
We know this has been an incredibly difficult few years for seniors, and all students, and we are so proud of them. To the entire SFUSD Class of 2022: You will always have a special place in our hearts and in history. As you continue your journey into the next chapter of your lives, let learning be your guide and your strength. From the entire SFUSD community, congratulations! We are so proud of you!
This page was last updated on June 7, 2022