Graduates stand up for life’s challenges

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Students from R-5 High School toss their caps during a commencement ceremony at Saunders Field House at Mesa State College Friday morning.

Lindsey Scott didn’t fit into the cookie-cutter mold of a traditional high school student.

She felt self-conscious about her weight and thought other students were constantly talking about her behind her back.

“I had a bad attitude along with it,” the 17-year-old said.

She had skipped so many classes that she was on the verge of being court-ordered to attend school. Then she got pregnant.

“I was actually scared that I was going to have a baby in jail,” she said.

But Scott enrolled in R-5 High School’s Key Performance program and strolled proudly across the stage during Friday’s graduation ceremony.

It was a milestone that might someday make her 9-month-old son Tyrus proud.

“School has been the biggest struggle of my life so far,” she said. “I was really motivated by my son. I know that children are more likely to graduate from high school if you do.”

Scott now plans to go to Mesa State College or Colorado State University, considering a career as a guidance counselor or a psychologist.

Each of the 84 R-5 graduates who earned diplomas this school year has a personal story of perseverance, and most students have overcome real-life challenges that traditional high school students may not face until after graduation.

Many students must maintain employment or volunteer work while attending school. Daycare is provided for young mothers attending classes through the Young Parent Program.

“There are no shortcuts at R-5,” Principal Anna Goetz said during graduation.

Goetz asked students to stand if they had accomplished any of a series of accomplishments while earning degrees.

Holding down a full-time job. Raising a child. Taking courses for college credit. Living on their own. Graduating faster than four years. Getting accepted into college.

Had any student overcome a major obstacle, developed a new talent or accomplished something they didn’t think was possible?

Every graduate stood up.


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