Celebrating our Grads!!!

Rotary and the ‘ADOPT A GRAD’ PROJECT

“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

A story of resilience. One that will be remembered for the ages and will be written about for future generations to appreciate it. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, schools state wide were forced to close their doors, and online curriculums had to be put in place relatively quickly. There was an immediate frustration for parents that needed childcare, for teachers that were forced to build online curriculums, and for our graduates, knowing that their last semester in high school would be completed from home.

Lemonade out of Lemons

Not to be denied the best senior year they were able to have, many of our students relied on electronic platforms to stay connected. Platforms such as zoom and Instagram not only enabled them to remain connected and engaged, but caused him to think outside the box and become creative. Things such as student government meetings, theatrical productions, and more were all moved to online formats. But even then, there was a huge cloud hanging over the head of the senior class and their parents. In May, the school district announced that this year’s graduation ceremonies would be cancelled, and many were frustrated. I couldn’t seem to understand why graduations could not have been postponed (until July) so that the grads would have an opportunity to be celebrated… to me, graduation ceremonies are a rite of passage in a sense.

Turn quickly toward the end of May when it was announced drive-through graduations would be permitted. Again, like myself many just did not see how they would work, and felt as if the senior class was being robbed of a great opportunity to be celebrated. I was wrong, we were wrong!!!

This week I attended the 1st DHS High school drive through graduation and I was pleasantly surprised. The event was broken up into four days (subdivided by alphabetical order), and each student was instructed that only one vehicle would be allowed into the graduation. This is why I was wrong; I saw the graduates and their families having a great time. I saw creativity, as many decorated their vehicles. I even witnessed two vehicles that resembled party buses! Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these images.

Watch my review here:(https://www.facebook.com/171549570209560/posts/552566675441179/) .


Last edition, I wrote to you concerning the Desert Hot Springs Rotary club looking to sponsor/adopt seniors. This year has been such a challenge for all of our students, especially our high school graduates due to the fact that they were unable to have a prom, grad night, or a traditional graduation. With the help of many generous hearts in our community, every interact Senior was successfully adopted! Last Saturday, members of our Rotary club participated in a drive through graduation throughout our city in an effort to distribute the gift baskets. Imagine being one of our graduates, stepping outside and an entire community is there to celebrate your accomplishments!

It goes without saying but our nation and even some of our communitie are at war. This war is not the war being shown across our media platforms. This war is against an unseen enemy that goes by the name of racism but is rooted in evil. This enemy thrives on division and misunderstanding. This enemy thrives on the fact that most will never lay aside their opinions and consider the perspective of another. This unseen enemy recruits the ignorant and has built an army based off of bigotry, prejudice, and extreme hate. However, just as those forces of darkness have come together and unite it in order to push an agenda of evil, racism, and division… We have to beat them at their at their own game. We will never win divided, those of us that know better will have to stand together

THEY want you to believe this is a race issue. That these are battle lines being drawn to begin a race war. Look at the footage… people from every race and ethnicity are protesting. (of course it is unfortunate that even peaceful protest can turn violent for whatever reason)

THEY want you to believe that it’s an attack against ALL police. When in essence, it’s a cry for justice toward the FOUR officers that were involved in the lynching and a plea for officers to intervene when they see something isn’t right. A plea for equity in the justice system.

This is not BLACK vs WHITE, it’s not even REPUBLICAN v DEMOCRAT… it’s a war between good and evil, and I still believe that light will destroy darkness.

THEY can not win.

Let’s not allow the narrative to shift and the goal post to be moved. Let’s focus on the main thing, which is justice for Mr. Floyd.

How do we heal? I believe dialogue is an important step. We may not all have the same experiences, we do all have the same goal in mind. Dialogue will expose perspectives which can lead to healing.

We don’t have to conform to this narrative of divide. We can do better and be better, we can stand together…”ONE nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL”

Thinking out loud…

Posted in

More From Advancing Desert Hot Springs...

Little League Baseball

By Kephyan Sheppard | April 4, 2020

Opening day across the Nation has been postponed. COVID-19 has impacted nearly every area of our lives, and even our National past time has taken a blow. With Major League spring ball season at a standstill, our own local Little League program is also influx. Little League baseball has been a fixture in our community…

We are in this TOGETHER!!!

By Kephyan Sheppard | March 19, 2020

Admittedly, this edition is a few days late. Several times I began typing and several times what I typed, I deleted. A week ago, our website received anonymous note asking if I would address COVID-19 and the outpouring of fear and concern that has swept throughout our city. With the increasing numbers of those affected…


By Kephyan Sheppard | February 28, 2020

Desert Hot Springs Celebrates Black History Month! As you drive into the city across gene Autry from the freeway, you will notice a distinct lighting pattern across the palm trees. Thanks to our city staff, our trees have been adorned with red, yellow, and green lighting to commemorate Black History Month. Black History Month is…

Watch Them Soar: DHS High

By Kephyan Sheppard | February 8, 2020

DHS High should be celebrated! Not only because it’s a great school, but because of the innovative approaches that Principal Cota and her staff employ daily. Over the course of the last year I have witnessed academic excellence, school pride, and exemplary professionalism from students and staff. However, I have now become aware of some…

DHS Celebrates Dr. King!

By Kephyan Sheppard | January 23, 2020

He stood for equality, he marched for peace, he died sharing the vision of a day that he knew he would never see in his lifetime…Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a true hero. This weekend as hundreds of thousands of people marched and celebrated his legacy worldwide, you were able to catch a glimpse…

The Ophelia Project

By Kephyan Sheppard | January 4, 2020

Imagine a program that aims to help young girls achieve all they can in life, one that meets them right where they are and is committed to ‘rescuing their potential’. That program does exist, it is called The Ophelia Project. After years of operating on campuses throughout the Valley, the program will officially launch through…


By Kephyan Sheppard | November 25, 2019

Youth sports are a staple in every growing city. The notion that we must keep our youth busy year round is one that is well received nationwide. Here in DHS, our Junior All American Football and Cheer program has proven to be a successful model of consistency for our youth, but has also served as…

Veteran’s Day and Beyond!!!

By Kephyan Sheppard | November 9, 2019

Principal Arseo Meet principal Arseo! She has been served as principal at Bella Vista since the school opened in January of 2014. (She previously served as the principal at Edward Wenzlaff for two years.) She has a passion for Bella Vista, one that is evident every time you see her walk through the halls and…

Diversity DHS!!!

By Kephyan Sheppard | October 19, 2019

A while back, we presented Diversity DHS to some of you in an effort to highlight the many things they do to Advance DHS. This week I was able to catch up with Sam Messler, the groups co-founder and dicussed their growth and plans for the immediate future. Groups like Diversity DHS are part of…

Our Wonderful Historical Society

By Kephyan Sheppard | October 12, 2019

A Historical Society (sometimes referred to as a preservation society) is an organization that aims to preserve, collect, research, and interpret historical information or items related to (in this case) a city’s history. These society’s play an integral role in protecting and preserving records while interpreting and presenting things of the past to the general…