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The Preuss School’s 20th Class Sets Out

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Sun shining with a cloudless sky, the weather was as bright and clear as the futures of The Preuss School UC San Diego’s most recent graduates. Nearly all of the 114 Preuss graduates are now preparing for their journeys as first-generation college students at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation, with 26 of them set to become UC San Diego’s newest Tritons this fall.

Held at UC San Diego’s Epstein Family Amphitheater on June 17, 2024, leaders from UC San Diego, The Preuss School, The Preuss School Board of Directors and San Diego Unified School District led the ceremony and applauded graduating Preuss scholars among the crowd of adoring families and friends. 

Students standing in graduation attire
Students walking down to their seats in graduation attire
Students walking to their seats in graduation attire

About the Class of 2024

  • 114 graduates
  • 99% graduation rate
  • 94% accepted into four-year colleges and universities, including University of California campuses, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Northwestern and John Hopkins
  • 94% will remain in California for their higher education
  • 26 admitted to UC San Diego for fall 2024

Most popular majors selected

  • Engineering
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Psychology
University and school leaders in commencement attire standing and applauding
Family members in the crowd cheering

Following the procession, a group of international scholar greeters welcomed parents and community members to the ceremony in nine of the 22 languages representative of Preuss scholars and their families. The Preuss student body is ethnically diverse and comes from over 40 zip codes across San Diego County, showcasing the region’s dynamic and culturally rich population.

“We welcome and celebrate our differences as we teach the Preuss Way of kindness, respect and excellence. We strive to be an inclusive community where all feel welcomed and valued...”

– Helen V. Griffith, superintendent of The Preuss School UC San Diego

The Preuss Superintendent standing at the podium
Helen V. Griffith, superintendent of The Preuss School UC San Diego.
A graduate speaking into the microphone
Ashley Lopez, 2024 Preuss graduate, welcomed the audience in Spanish.

Elizabeth H. Simmons, executive vice chancellor at UC San Diego, expressed the significance of hosting The Preuss School graduation at the Epstein Family Amphitheater, noting that it's located at the heart of campus and The Preuss School represents the heart of what UC San Diego is all about — educating and supporting the people of California as a public university. 

“I hope that you will come home often, to Preuss and UC San Diego.” 

– Elizabeth H. Simmons, executive vice chancellor at UC San Diego

A wide-shot photo of the amphitheater
The Preuss School UC San Diego's 2024 Commencement at the Epstein Family Amphitheater.

Valedictorian Gael Oswaldo Herrera Delgado shared a heartfelt message with his classmates. The Class of 2024 began high school in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not return to in-person instruction until the beginning of 10th grade in August 2021.

“To the Class of 2024 …  I just want to tell you, it has been a blessing sharing a classroom with you all. And, like everyone here today, I am astronomically proud of how much grit, perseverance and personality that you’ve shown over the past seven years. I honestly wish the very best for you all, and I encourage you to hold the memories and relationships you’ve made close to your heart, because I know I will. I encourage you to have discipline in pursuing what ignites your passionate minds and bright souls. I encourage you to be determined like a warrior and be consistent with your goals. I encourage you to have a fierce ambition to succeed without losing the humanity to love and care for others.”

– Gael Oswaldo Herrera Delgado

The Valedictorian addressing his class from the podium on stage
The Preuss School's 2024 Valedictorian, Gael Oswaldo Herrera Delgado.
A photo taken from behind the Valedictorian to show the crowd during his speech

Cecil Lytle, UC San Diego professor emeritus, former provost of Thurgood Marshall College and founder of The Preuss School, delivered the commencement address with founding UC San Diego Chancellor Bob Dynes behind him on stage and developer of The Preuss School curriculum, UC San Diego professor emeritus Hugh “Bud” Mehan, in the audience. Lytle, Dynes and Mehan were key figures in establishing The Preuss School in 1998 following the passing of Prop 209. Twenty-five years after it opened in 1999, The Preuss School continues to offer students from historically underserved communities access to an exceptional education and a variety of learning opportunities at UC San Diego, including research, internships, cultural events and service learning.

“Look around here; you grew up here. You became young adults on the campus of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla. You also helped the university to grow up and face its responsibilities as an agent of change.”

– Cecil Lytle, founder of The Preuss School UC San Diego

Students facing the audience, standing and applauding their supporters
The Preuss Class of 2024 turned to thank loved ones for their support.

To the Class of 2024:

“Congratulations, you have reached a major milestone in your lives that has taken a great deal of work and dedication but you’ve done it.”

– Julia R. Brown, chair of The Preuss School Board of Directors 

Students receiving their high school diploma
Students receiving their high school diploma
Students receiving their high school diploma
A mother embracing her child who graduated

About The Preuss School UC San Diego

The Preuss School is a public charter middle and high school that provides a single-track, intensive college preparatory education for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university. Through rigorous teaching and curriculum, longer learning times and a number of student supports including a seven year advisory program, The Preuss School prepares its graduates to distinguish themselves academically and obtain admission to the University of California and other selective institutions of higher learning. To date, over 2,000 scholars have earned a high school diploma from The Preuss School.

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