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Congratulations Graduates

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Webster's defines Doctorate Degree as: "obtaining the rank of doctor or the highest title of the holder at a university," and Diploma as: "a document conferring some honor or privilege after one has completed a course of study." These meanings are given and of course put into action during the month of June here in the USA during the graduation season.

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Mathew-Alexander Roberts (right)
I want to take this week to congratulate all of the students who completed the coursework put before them over the years of study. Some will continue on like Mathew- Alexander Roberts who graduated from Riverside Poly High School. Nothing so great about that, but because he's only ten years old it's amazing. That is genius. Especially when there are some 17, 18 and 19 year olds complaining about not being able to pass the Exit Exam. By the way, he will be heading to Harvard.


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Charles and Shelby Obershaw
Some people received their doctorate degree through academic coursework while others received theirs from years of hard work, trial and error, persistence against life's obstacles, and determination to succeed. However, the manner in which you complete it, its no easy feat. In one household doctorate degrees were bestowed upon a couple, Charles and Shelby Obershaw of San Bernardino. The Obershaws are household names in these parts because they are well known community leaders: he was a businessman and  she was a teacher and school board trustee. Chuck, for example, was a contributor to many civic organizations and one of them was the Westside Boys and Girls Club.

He donated vehicles to them at no cost. He served on various boards of directors in the community like Community Hospital in the heart of the African American community while serving on other boards like the YMCA and National Orange Show. Shelby was -- and still is -- very active in many organization with the latest being the Black Voice Foundation, Inc. She served on the school board and that is where I really had a chance to get to know this gentle soul who used commonsense when making decisions on programs and curriculum. She also possesses discernment for selecting good people for positions. When I introduced the Affirmative Action Program into the district it was Shelby who remembered Judy White as her student. Shelby said Judy impressed her very much then and now.  Superintendent E. Neal Roberts listened to us and promoted Judy and then encouraged her to get her doctorate. She is now Deputy Superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

Henry W. Coil, Jr. of Riverside is another person who has received an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from La Sierra University of Riverside. He already has a law degree but because of the work he has and continues to do in his community, the title now accents his outstanding career. Henry has served on many organizations including the Boy Scouts where his generosity has helped many boys in the community. As a matter of fact he currently serves on 23 community boards. I respect this man's commitment and dedication to our community. Coil, like the Obershaws, have given over $1 million dollars to higher education so others can have the opportunity to learn while pursuing their dreams.

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Charles Seymour
Now something that should motivate everyone is Charles Seymour receiving his High School Diploma from Arroyo High School in San Bernardino. Now what's so special about a man getting a high school diploma? He is 83 years old, which gives credence to the saying "you are never too old to learn". This guy, like so many during his early childhood, had to drop out of school to help the family survive. For those who know Seymour, know that he has an entrepreneurial spirit and the consummate salesperson.  Like Coil and the Obershaws, Seymour has a passion for serving his community and kids in particular. Decades ago he helped publish the Tribune Newspaper with Dr. Henry Holder, founded his own mail shipping business, help found the Black Fathers Organization in San Bernardino, found the College Capable Caps program under his nationally famous Adopt A Bike program for wayward youth. If that was not enough he started the Adopt the Computer program. He is now set on building a Golf Course for youth in an underserved area of San Bernardino. He believes a kid learning golf will inspire kids to turn their dreams into a reality.

To all the graduates I say "congratulations."  To Mathew-Alexander Roberts, Chuck Obershaw, Shelby Obershaw and Henry Coil, I say "continue to show us the way in fullfilling our life while meeting our goals. Congratulations."

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