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Reflecting on an Eventful School Year across the CAST Network


Recently, I was jogging down the street of my parents’ home, and as I waited for the cars to pass, a crossing guard waved me across, gave me a beautiful smile, and wished me a good day.


My youngest graduates next week from the Advanced Learning Academy, and he drives himself to school, but the cheerful crossing guard gave me a flashback to Bonham Academy, where both my children walked to school, and learned to speak and read in Spanish. This week, we returned there and watched the Bonham grads from different high schools – the largest group from the Early College High School at Brackenridge – parade through the halls of their former elementary school.


I find myself overcome with emotion as I watch my son prepare to graduate. There are so many full circle moments, as I photograph him with his second grade teacher, Victoria Hernandez, now the Assistant Principal at CAST Med High School, as he receives a book from a favorite 9th grade teacher. 


Although they are not my own children, I feel a similar pride as I cheer on the amazing first graduating class of CAST Lead High School. These milestones help us commemorate the passing of time, as well as the important relationships that make our time in important places meaningful.


My mind returns to the crossing guard because I am struck by how important every single person in a school community is. This year, we celebrated CAST STEM’s exciting move to Palo Alto College. One of the few tragedies for me was saying goodbye to the two custodians who had become an integral part of the school’s fabric. When I visit CAST Tech High School, I enter the building with a smile on my face because of the ever positive greeting I receive from Mr. Hector Camarillo, a reminder that this place is forever warm and welcoming.


As we close out the school year, if you are close to someone in schools, it is a perfect time to thank the teachers and leaders who have made a difference in a child’s education. But let’s also remember our gratitude for every other person in and around the schools who ensure that our young people are surrounded by love.


Jeanne Russell

Executive Director

CAST Schools


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The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.