Students Do More than Shop at Simon Malls; They Graduate

Simon
Malls are bustling with activity this holiday season, but among the familiar
sights of gift bags and decorations, shoppers at several malls across the nation
may see an unfamiliar holiday scene – high school graduation ceremonies.  This December, 225 at-risk high school
students will receive their high school diplomas as they graduate from seven of
23 Simon Youth Academies located primarily in Simon Malls.

Graduation
day is an incredible, moving experience for students, families, teachers,
administrators, and even our mall managers. The journey for our students is not
easy.  Behind each one of these graduates
is a story of determination and triumph over significant personal
challenges.  But they persevere.  They graduate.  They succeed. 
And SYF is very proud of each one of them.

Brandon
Pressley, a December graduate from Simon Youth Academy at Opry Mills (TN),
became the first in his family to hold a high school diploma.  The audience swelled with pride for Brandon
as he described past struggles and his drive to overcome them.  “Without the Academy, I wouldn’t have a high
school diploma . . . Now that I’ve graduated, I feel overwhelmed with the
abundance of options that I have open to me, and it’s a great feeling,” he
said. 

Along
with all of the mid-term graduates, Brandon joins the ranks of more than 10,000
Simon Youth Academy graduates nationwide. 
With a 90% graduation rate, that number promises to grow steadily as we
head into 2014.

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