Sacramento State will hold its first 2017 graduation ceremony for students who completed the University's High School Equivalency Program (HEP), which serves migratory and seasonal farmworkers intent on furthering their educations.

The ceremony with be at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, in the Ballroom of the University Union on the Sacramento State campus.

University President Robert S. Nelsen will welcome graduates and ceremony attendees. He will be followed by two student speakers joined by HEP staff, campus administration, community partners and graduates' families.  

This year, 25 students in the program have attained the equivalent of a high school diploma from the state of California. Beyond providing an important educational milestone, HEP helps participants gain employment or begin postsecondary education or training.

The program helps migrant and seasonal farmworkers who face barriers that stretch beyond demographics, culture, schooling and large socio-economic and political issues. Attaining the equivalency helps graduates avoid costly individual and societal consequences.

“The hard work, perseverance and sacrifice of our students coupled with the support from Sacramento State and our community partners have made this milestone possible,” said Viridiana Diaz, assistant vice president of Strategic Diversity Initiatives and principal investigator of HEP.

“These students are the hardest-working students I know. Although they have families - in some case small children - and work full-time, labor-intensive jobs, they still manage to come to class in the evenings four times a week, do homework and prepare for the exams. I’m so proud of them.”

More than 80 percent of HEP graduates are enrolled in local community colleges in the area and plan to continue higher education. 

For more information, contact Diaz at 916-208-6117 or at - University Communications