High school students given a second chance to graduate
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For many students, graduation is an expected end to their high school career. That was not the case for Sara Al-Khafaji.
“I actually dropped out of school,” Al-Khafaji said. “I heard about the Academy at Hickory Hollow and I decided to come here.
“For most of the graduates, an Academy program was their last chance at getting a high school diploma.”We take them in. We fuss at them, we hug them,” Academy at Hickory Hollow Principal, Billy Fellman said. “But if they’re determined they’re going to get their high school diploma.”
“(I) tried my best to go to other schools,” Al-Khafaji said, “but they wouldn’t accept me because I was too old.”
The Academy at Hickory Hollow, Opry Mills and Old Cockrill all provide credit recovery programs. Together, they’ve graduated about 1,400 students in the last four years.
“I’m going to Nashville State. I’m going to major in computer technology,” Academy at Opry Mills graduate William Norfleet said. “I hope to be an IT guy someday.”
A majority of the graduates have already committed to attending college, the military or a vocational school.
“We look at the whole picture. After high school what are we going to do to get you ready for life,” Fellman said. “We help get jobs also for those who college is not in their future.”
It’s programs like this, that have helped cut Metro’s dropout rate in half. Just by giving student’s like Sara another chance, this time to celebrate being the first female in her family to graduate from high school.
Credit to: Aundrea Cline-Thomas, News Channel 5 in Nashville, TN