dr tj owens gilroy early college academy graduation
Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy graduates file into Gavilan College during the school’s commencement ceremony on May 26. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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For many of the 72 Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy seniors who climbed the stage to receive their high school diplomas on May 26, they would repeat the same process at the same place the next day.

But this time, it would be to receive their associate degrees from Gavilan College.

GECA kicked off Gilroy Unified School District’s graduation season, which concludes this week following Christopher and Gilroy high schools’ ceremonies.

Principal Sonia Flores said nearly 80% of GECA’s graduates also earned degrees from the college.

“You have demonstrated what is possible with hard work, grit and determination,” she told the graduates.

Graduate Roselyn Guevara, who is heading to UC Santa Barbara to study biopsychology, gave the historian address. Valedictorian Reet Padda and Salutatorian Marisol Cruz-Velasco also addressed the audience.

“Every single one of you have made this a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Guevara said. “I feel so honored and lucky to have been able to go to high school with you all.”

Many graduates were also recognized with scholarships from organizations such as Gilroy Rotary, Gilroy Foundation and the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

dr tj owens gilroy early college academy graduation
Roselyn Guevara (at podium) gives the historian address as Salutatorian Marisol Cruz-Velasco (second from left), GECA Principal Sonia Flores (right) and others listen. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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