FAIRFIELD — Kalia Wells could barely hold in the tears as she walked in procession Wednesday with her diploma in hand.
The 18-year-old had just switched her tassel with more than 100 other high school and GED graduates during the commencement ceremony for the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School at the Fairfield Civic Center.
“I worked hard,” Wells said during a photo shoot, surrounded by family members. She had been quick to shed the navy blue graduation gown for an orange-and-white-striped cocktail dress and was ready for the celebratory barbecue.
“Party at my house,” she said.
The Adult School offers daytime and evening classes for those who want to earn a high school diploma or GED certification. It relocated to the former Bransford Elementary campus, 900 Travis Blvd., in 2009.
Fairfield resident Aaron Antipuesto, 18, walked wearing his cap and gown with some flower and money leis that he had saved after not graduating in 2013.
“These were supposed to be for last year, but I was like, ‘Why not, at least just throw ‘em on,’ ” he said.
Antipuesto said he opted to spend time with friends last year rather than focus on his academic responsibilities, so he was happy to finally earn his diploma. Now, he plans to attend Solano Community College for two years before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley, or joining the U.S. Air Force.
“It’s a feeling of redemption . . . a feeling of relief,” he said. “(It’s) like a big burden has been taken off of me, but a big burden is coming.”
Gerardo Lopez of Fairfield was trying to contain a bundle of congratulatory balloons as family surrounded him and his cousin, Cassandra Del Real, 18, who also graduated from the adult school.
“(It’s) just a whole different level of achievement,” said the 30-year-old. “It’s better later than never.”
Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.