AU’s Drop Back In Academy in Gadsden County, FL, graduated its second class on August 26 at the Quincy DBI site. While there were just four students who completed their high school graduation requirements, there was no shortage of pride and congratulations for their accomplishments.
The four students honored were Latoya Brinson, Cetoria Holloway, Lakeshia McGriff and Quashawn Jones, all of whom proved that students who have “fallen through the cracks” and opted to drop out of high school can still go back and earn that coveted diploma.
The Alternatives Unlimited Drop Back In program is designed for young people, ages 16 – 21, who, for various reasons, left school after entering ninth grade but still aspire to graduate with a high school diploma, rather than a GED.
The commencement speaker was County Commissioner Sherrie Taylor, who offered positive words of wisdom to each graduate who may have “delayed” but were not denied that important diploma because of the collaboration between the Gadsden County schools and AU. With focus and determination, she continued, these students, who genuinely desired to obtain a diploma and were willing to work hard to earn it, finally realized their goal, despite whatever circumstances led them off track previously.
During the ceremony Laquesha Thompson remarked, “Sometimes I think of not making it or being successful, but seeing these special people standing there has given me hope to prepare me for life’s triumphs and challenges. They give me hope to continue.”
All four of these graduates will further their educational goals at Tallahassee Community College, starting Tuesday. Ms. Holloway and Ms. McGriff will each pursue a nursing degree; Ms. Brinson will study to become an elementary teacher, and Quashawn Jones would like to become a police officer.
The commencement ended with remarks from guest speaker Eric Hinson, a member of the Gadsden County School Board; a prayer by Pastor Willie Chambers; and comments from DBIA staff, including Gladys Britt , who noted: “They all have formed a solid foundation — now all they have to do is build on it.”
Gadsden County school dropouts who are between the ages of 16 and 21 and who would like to return and earn a high school diploma, can contact Ronterious Robinson at 850-618-0137. The coursework is completely free to the students.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of the graduates, who heard this inspiring quote during the ceremony: “Yesterday is gone; tomorrow has yet to come. We have only today: Let it begin.”
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