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Dropout Recovery Course Helps Petersburg Students Graduate

Fourteen Petersburg High School students graduated this summer.
Fourteen Petersburg High School students graduated this summer.

(VPM intern Patrick Larsen reported this story.) Marcos Hanks, who dropped out of school two years ago, was one of them.

“I wanna cry.  Honestly,” said Hanks.

Hanks is one of three new graduates who participated in ChallengeU, a free dropout recovery program that’s new to the district.

The coursework is done mostly on mobile phones at the students’ preferred pace.

Dr. Omega Wilson, an education administrator who works with Challenge U, says that gives these students time is extremely valuable.

“To have a second chance to complete their education and know that we made a major difference in their lives and the next step of their lives is very rewarding and very filling,” said Dr. Wilson.

That second chance was not lost on Hanks.

“Cause I was in the dark for a while,” he said. “They helped me get my positivity back, my joy back.”

Some of the new graduates will now continue their education, starting college courses in the spring, while others plan to enter the workforce directly. But for all of them, the diploma itself means opportunity.

Petersburg High principal April Hawkins says that this opportunity is just as important to the community as it is to the graduates.