It’s graduation season at Pivotal! This year is especially meaningful since the 2020-2021 school year was full of unexpected challenges for our students and the Pivotal coaches who supported them. From navigating remote learning to limited internship and job opportunities, our scholars overcame hurdle after hurdle and our coaches worked tirelessly to provide our services virtually and provide them with as much support as possible. We’re constantly inspired by our scholars and are grateful for the opportunity to work with them – and learn from them – every day.

Some scholars struggled academically, financially and emotionally but if this year has taught us anything, it’s that things don’t always go the way we plan and how we react to change is what really drives who we are as human beings. 

Our goal at Pivotal is to support the young people we work with, no matter what, for as long as they need us. From homework support to tutoring referrals, meetings with school staff and developing success skills key to academic success, our coaches have gone above and beyond to help our students stay focused, motivated and on track. We are so proud of all our students and coaches who worked together to get through last year with grace and determination in the face of adversity. We’re celebrating ALL of our scholars, whether they graduated, transferred or just kept pushing through this difficult year. 

This summer, 43 high school students and 15 post-secondary scholars successfully graduated! Of the 43 high school students, 39 have been accepted into post-secondary programs. We’re also celebrating 12 transfer scholars who are looking forward to the next step of their educational journey. During our virtual post-secondary graduation ceremony, we honored three scholars’ exceptional achievements with leadership and academic awards. Meet MJ, John, and Alejandro! 


MJ: Nancy Weiner Spirit of Compassion Award for Community Service and Leadership 

Every year, Pivotal recognizes a youth who has advocated for foster youth, demonstrated leadership, and given back to the community with the Nancy Weiner Spirit of Compassion Award, named in memory of Pivotal’s first Executive Director. This year, we’re recognizing MJ, whose spirit and determination to serve the community are unbreakable and unstoppable.

During MJ’s academic journey with Pivotal, she has spoken to our supporters at conferences, shared her gift of poetry with others and traveled across the country to pursue an internship. She was also part of our orientation scholar panel, where she shared her insights and experience as a scholarship recipient with other students. Now, MJ is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Psychology and History of Consciousness, and we are so excited to see what comes next for this accomplished young woman!

Missy and Her Mom


John: Academic Perseverance Award

John has consistently been a positive role model to his peers, family and Pivotal staff. His unwavering dedication to education, despite the challenges that came his way, is inspiring. We’re so proud to see him graduate from Cal State, Monterey Bay, and we already see him apply the same focus he had in college to his new career. We are honored to have served John in his journey, and look forward to seeing where the future will take him.

Ngonzo Graduate

Alejandro: Academic Perseverance Award

Alejandro was also presented with the Academic Perseverance Award for his commitment to education, after graduating from San Jose State University with a degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. Balancing work and school is never easy, but Alejandro never gave up and worked tirelessly to get where he is today. Even when faced with challenges, he always pressed forward and communicated when he needed extra support. With these skills, we are confident that Alejando will fulfill his dreams in entrepreneurship. We’ll certainly be cheering him on in this next chapter of his life.

Alejandro SJSU


Congratulations to these deserving scholars, and hats off to the entire class of 2021!