Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates’ (JAG) annual Celebration of Success Breakfast event was hosted at Paradise Valley High School’s Auditorium from 8-9:00 a.m. on August 23. The event provided an opportunity for administrators, educators, community leaders, board members, employer partners, volunteers, and donors to come together and kick-off the start of a new school year for statewide JAG programs.
The 2022 Celebration of Success was special this year for a few reasons. Not only is it the 20th year of achieving the Jobs for America’s Graduates National 5-of-5 award, the event was also in person at JAG’s Program of the Year recipient, Paradise Valley High School (PVHS).
The 5-of-5 metric challenges Jobs for America’s Graduates State Affiliates and their programs to exceed the nationwide benchmarks for graduation, employment, full-time employment, full-time positive outcomes, and post-secondary education.
Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates’ Class of 2021 was recognized for achieving 5-of-5 with a 99% graduation rate; 68% of graduates employed; 88% of employed graduates working full-time; 89% of graduates engaged full-time in employment, post-secondary education or a combination of the two; and 54% of graduates attending post-secondary education.
“Turning Leaders into Legends & Obstacles into Opportunities,” the event’s theme, honored JAG participants and coordinators for their resilience during these last few years of unprecedented challenges.
The Celebration of Success began with a formal welcome from PVHS’ band, choir, and dance team. There were a total of 40 students in attendance that helped organize and prepare their school for the event. Those students donned professional attire donated by Dress for Success Phoenix.
The event featured a testimonial presentation on JAG’s impact from Paradise Valley JAG Alum Rita Momika; additionally, there were remarks from Maricopa County Superintendent Steve Watson, PVHS Principal Deonise, Credit Union West’s Cheryl Brown, Tonopah Valley HS Administrator Nathan Bolden and a special video message from Superintendent of Instruction Kathy Hoffman.
After remarks, President Graciela Garcia Candia presented recognition awards for JAG programs, coordinators, and administrators to spotlight their tremendous impact this past year.
“Our annual ‘Celebration of Success’ event is an opportunity for us to recognize the dedication our coordinators and supporters have for ensuring that middle school, high school, and out-of-school participants are set up for success as leaders in life and career,” Garcia Candia said. “Achieving ‘5-of-5’ for a 20th year in a row is a testament to how prepared our participants are for life beyond high school.”
The new school year is in full swing for JAG’s programs. In addition to JAG’s existing programs, there will be six new program sites in community areas such as Camp Verde, Guadalupe, Peoria, and Tonopah. The first set of leadership skill-building and employer engagement events will be the Middle School and High School Leadership Development Conferences (LDC) this month.
For more information on JAG and how to bring a program to your community, you can learn more here.