The Graduation Alliance program at one school district in Washington had nine students earned diplomas in 2017 from the program that gives at-risk students a second shot at success.
With dozens of students working hard toward their own graduation goals — and one already holding a diploma — 2018 is already shaping up to be another record-breaking year.
“We’ve had students graduating from the program since 2014,” Graduation Alliance local advocate Tonya H. said, “but something has really changed this past year. The participants have really come together as a community, supporting one another and helping each other stay focused on their goals.”
The first graduate of 2018, Stephanie M., was working two jobs when a re-enrollment counselor contacted her two years ago. There was no way for her to return to a traditional school schedule, but the program — which offered online courses supported by 24-7 tutoring and a personal academic coach — offered the flexibility she needed to try again.
Stephanie said she struggled at first with the demands of the program, which requires students to stay on task in order to maintain enrollment. Her biggest challenge, she said, was procrastination.
“It was hard,” she said, “but I was able to teach myself self-discipline and get stuff done on time.”
Tonya, who met with Stephanie once a week to support her during her time in the program, said she’s proud of her former student’s accomplishment.
“It’s such a joy to see what she has been able to accomplish,” Tonya said. “And I know it’s an inspiration to the other students in the program.”
Now that she has graduated, Stephanie said she wants to pursue her associate’s degree and take some business courses.