KQED recently did a new story on Rudsdale Newcomer. The text is posted here, and can also be found on their website.
When a young woman from Honduras crossed a stage in Oakland last June to receive her high school diploma, it wasn’t just any graduation. She had escaped gang violence in her home country, Honduras, and kidnapping in Mexico on the journey north. Then, she endured detention after crossing the border and asking for asylum.
After arriving in the East Bay, she attended three different high schools, before finally graduating from Rudsdale Newcomer High School, a continuation school opened in 2017 by Oakland Unified School District tailored to newcomer students like her.
“I could have dropped out two years before, but I wanted to get my diploma, and especially learn the language because, with that, you can go farther,” she said in Spanish.
She asked only to use her middle name, Yamileth, because she is still afraid of the gang that targeted her family.
Hundreds of thousands of teenagers and children from Central America have come to the United States since 2014, fleeing violence and extreme poverty in their home countries. They’ve enrolled in school districts across the country, but they often face a daunting set of obstacles to graduate high school, enroll in college or prepare for careers.