It was all hugs, smiles and lots of picture taking at Banning High School's graduation in Wilmington.
As graduations go, these are milestones and days you never forget. There is always the song-stuck-in-your-head "Pomp and Circumstance," but, for jonathan Guttierez and Karen Duarte there was also an image stuck in their heads from a day they'll never forget. April 10th... the day the bus they were in going to Humboldt State University and a Fed Ex truck collided on I-5 in Northern California. Ten people were killed and 30 injured. Back in April Karen told us "I saw all the black smoke and the fire. I felt the fire... the heat. I felt the heat." She heard a window in the bus break, found it and hopped out. She had facial injuries. So did Guttierez.
At the graduation ceremony the keynote speaker was LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino. "Thankfully, thankfully they survived," he said, "and did not let the crash impede their goal of going to college. In fact, Karen and Jonathan aren't just going to college they're going to Humboldt State."
But, first they were called up on stage where the councilman and a local non-profit called Sharefest surprised the two grads with $5000 scholarships each. Duarte and Guttierez were stunned. Surprising them was a success! Afterward, Duarte told me "I wasn't expecting that at all. It was shocking." Guttierez had the same reaction. He said "we're grateful for it."
Indeed they were!
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