To enthusiastic cheers and applause, five individuals were awarded long overdue high school diplomas in a ceremony held May 15 by the Sacramento County Board of Education. Operation Recognition honors the contributions of veterans and Japanese American citizens who missed completing high school due to World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
Honorees, joined by family members and friends, gathered with Board of Education Trustees at the David P. Meaney Education Center for a pre-ceremony reception. The El Camino High School Jazz Combo provided music for the reception, and a flag ceremony presented by the Marine Corps League of Folsom Color Guard opened the event. Board President Brian Cooley conducted a brief meeting of the Board, during which Trustees unanimously voted to bestow diplomas.
Student speaker Megan Phelps, a senior at Vista del Lago High School in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, gave a special tribute to veterans who made sacrifices during times of war by reading her award-winning essay based on the theme "How I can show patriotism in my community." The essay earned her first place and a $500 college scholarship in the SCOE Operation Recognition Essay Contest sponsored by SAFE Credit Union. Presenting the scholarship check was Herb Long, SAFE Credit Union board member.
"My patriotism will be exemplified not through empty words, but it will be seen in my dedication to recognizing those who have sacrificed their education, time, and desires to keep our country safe and allow all other citizens, like me, to chase their dreams. For that, I will be forever grateful," Phelps said in her speech.
Trustees presented diplomas to the following individuals:
- Jose Morales Alvarado (served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War); resident of Sacramento's midtown area; attended Grant Union High School in Sacramento.
- Andrew "Andy" E. Anderson (served in U.S. Navy during World War II); resides in Loomis, having retired after 42 years of service with the Operating Engineers, Union #3 in Sacramento; attended Armijo High School in Fairfield, California.
- Glenn Dominic Carrasca (served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War); resident of South Sacramento; attended Batac Rural High School in the Philippines before enlisting.
- Richard Lee McDuff, Jr. (served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War); resident of Elk Grove; attended Blackford High School in San Jose before enlisting.
- Michael Dennis Posehn (served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War); attended Encina and Hiram Johnson high schools before enlisting; resident of Citrus Heights.
Also recognized were members of SCOE's Operation Recognition Advisory Panel, including Clellan "Cy" Young, Maryanna Rickner, and Larry H. Soza. Balloon bouquets for the graduation event were donated by The Party Concierge, Inc., and Maryanna Rickner provided a special red, white and blue cake decorated with the recipients' names.
Operation Recognition was adopted unanimously in October 2001 by the Sacramento County Board of Education and has since expanded to include recognition of qualifying Vietnam War veterans. Operation Recognition high school diplomas are authorized by the California Education Code (§ 51430 and § 51440).
The Sacramento County Board of Education has thus far provided Operation Recognition high school diplomas to 163 individuals, including eight posthumous awards. Persons interested in applying for an Operation Recognition diploma for themselves or a qualifying family member may contact SCOE at (916) 228-2416.