Graduation Celebration Has Commenced

I have told y'all I am a teacher. I teach at-risk high school students. What does that mean, you ask? Well, my students are at risk of dropping out because of low credits (need 24 and they may have anywhere from 6-20). They may be over the age of 18 and/or a 5th year senior (they have until the age of 21 to graduate). They may be mommies/daddies or to-be mommies/daddies trying to get their diplomas.

Now we are not miracle workers no matter what the high schools have told you. We are just able to work more with students because we are limited on the number of students accepted to our program. We can have about 40 students at one time; however, we can have students graduate at any given point in the year. So everyday is like graduation. We do have one day a year for the actual ceremony. Let me explain...

Our students do not carry 7 classes at once while switching classes like a tradition campus. We are an alternative campus and do things, well, differently. As an example, there will be one room with students all on different subjects, different class levels, different semesters working towards their diploma. They only work on one or two subjects at a time, but they are somewhat self-paced. This means they can work faster and at home to get ahead. It does NOT mean they go at their own pace and take a year to finish a class. Sorry kiddos.

Anyhoo, I got to rambling about my program and not about the point of the post! Friday, we  celebrated a milestone. Our graduates had the first ever luncheon to help celebrate the success of graduation. Graduation on our campus is a big deal.

Don't get me wrong. Any graduation is important. I just feel my students have overcame some huge hurdles to get to this point. Some of our students were on the verge of dropping out of school. Some, were behind in their credits needed to graduate. Others were only a couple of credits shy of graduating. A few students were over the age of 18, have been in the workforce a few years and found how important a diploma is and returned. We even have students who can not physically/emotionally handle going to school in a large high school. So these are HUGE hurdles they have overcame to start their path of making a better life for themselves and their families. I applaud each and every one of my graduates!

So we celebrated successes and milestones. We felt it is such a big deal that we invited the big-wigs: Former principals, school board members and select members of Central Office. Next week is graduation day. I think I can keep it together, but when they walk the stage I am as close to a mom as I will ever be. I will be crying while my "babies" close a chapter in their life and are ready (hopefully!) to begin a new chapter.

My compatriot who keeps me grounded, cool headed, and a great "MOM" to our kiddos.


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