MCOE celebrates grads of Special Ed. transition program 


There were plenty of smiles and tears of joy between family members, teachers and students during a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2024 graduates in the four-year Special Education Transition program provided by the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE). 

Graduate Sierra Whitaker with her teacher Marci Gamble of the Wolfe Transition Center.

Transition education prepares these students for the changes and demands of life after high school. The primary goal is the development of independent living skills to the fullest degree possible. Many local special education students are offered support up to the age of 22.  

MCOE operates the programs at various locations throughout the county, including the Wolfe Center in Merced, and Atwater Valley Community School in Atwater — where this year’s commencement ceremony was held. 

This year’s Class of 2024 included 31 students who took part in an opening procession, individual tributes led by their teachers, and the handing out of gifts to their parents. Student Speaker George Diaz gave a moving speech in both English and Spanish, and quoted E.E. Cummings, à la “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Laura Fong, the assistant superintendent of MCOE Special Education, was on hand to give an address to the students and audience, as well as Steve Tietjen, the superintendent of county schools. 



Class of 2024 Graduates


Carolina Arellano 

Valdemar Birrueta

Andrew Case 

Melany Contreras

Zachary Crawford

David Cuevas

George Diaz

Aaliyah C. Garcia

Austin Garner

Benjamin E. Gonzalez

Sabrina Gudino

Aniya Juarez

Moises Huerta

Anthony “AJ” Holland

Victoria Leal 

Maribel Lomeli 

Adam Maldonado

Santos Montero

Ana Aguilera Martinez

Miguel Pulido

Erik Regalado 

Jayden Emil Flores Reyes

Felipe Sandoval Rosales

Jesus Silva

Noah Sanders

Usvaldo Valencia

Anazela Vasquez

Jordon Viss

Sierra Whitaker

Corbin Young

Justin Zuniga 


EducationMCOEMerced CountyMerced County Office of EducationSpecial EducationTransition
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