Tonight I was lucky to be able to go to my nephews graduation. It was not a typical graduation and it took me back in time. It took me back in time because it was an alternative high school graduation and that is the type of high school I graduated from.
I was a troubled teen. I ran away from home. I dropped out of school. I was so adamant I knew what I needed and wanted in life. I walked away from my family, my faith, my friends, and I knew I was making the best choice for me.
I don’t think most people understand how different an alternative high school graduation is. How much more it means to the young adults who graduate. Each one of them has a hardship, a difficulty, a story, and a victory. It isn’t that each person who graduates from high school isn’t important, but these kids have overcome some great odds.
Most of them dropped out of school or were failing school. Most of them were not going to graduate if they didn’t have the option of an alternative school. Some of them have children, some of them were leaving their home at 5 AM and taking 3 buses to get to school to leave from there and go right to work and some of them had physical illnesses that made it so they just were not going to catch up.
I think one of my favorite things I heard tonight came from a student speech. She said, “Some people in my life are proud, some are disappointed and I know I am unstoppable.” Another student said in her speech, “Thank you to my grandma, she has taught me that you need to be nice to everyone and even when they hurt you don’t sink down to their level.”
I am not where I thought I would be at this point in my life, however me having the option to be able to graduate after I made such poor choices, changed my life. These kids given the opportunity to be able to graduate, to go on with their life, to have victory to overcome adversity in their lives!
These kids have some pretty amazing stories. If you have never taken time to learn about alternative programs and the kids in your school district, maybe it is time to look into it. Is there anything you can do to help these young people? Can you be a positive mentor? Can you help by tutoring? I bring this part up because I know our local schools are considering closing.
I would not be where I am today, if I had not been given someplace else to go. These kids come from all over our city for this school. The teachers have a special kind of heart for this. I sat in my seat tonight, almost in tears. I had one person there and I was proud of all of them.
Each one of them worked hard, grew into adults, overcame and things that most people can’t even imagine at that age! It was one of the most special graduations I have ever been able to witness. Congratulations class of 2017! Each of you worked hard and I am thankful I was able to see and hear all each of you had to say tonight.
Have you had the pleasure of watching anyone graduate this year? I have been able to watch both my son and my nephew. I would love to hear if you have ever been able to go and watch an alternative high school graduation? It just gives you a totally different perspective. And for me it brought me back in time. It helped me remember how far I have come and how lucky I was that the school and teachers were there for me.