Updated 09/02/2012 09:14 AM
New Durham school gives dropouts chance to earn high school diploma
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DURHAM, N.C.-- Shaiyan Cline was a young careless teen when she found out her life was drastically changing.
"I had a baby at the age of 15 and I didn't really have the time to finish school,” Cline said.
So she packed up and moved to New Jersey. But some three years later she's back in Durham to enroll in a brand new classroom.
"I have to show my son, no matter how hard the struggle is or no matter what you go through, you can always achieve to finish school,” Cline said.
Cline joins more than 80 other students in the state's first Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy.
And through a hands on approach and tailored online learning, they're getting the chance to earn an actual diploma instead of a GED.
"We have approximately 300 students that we know of that have dropped out, so it is our goal to make sure that we bring those students back to the districts and that we get them their high school diploma," said Durham Superintendent Dr. Eric Becoats.
Every year, nearly 1.1 million students drop out of school, that's some 6,000 a day or one every 29 seconds.
But this academy's offering students a second chance, with two class times to work around already complicated schedules, focusing on real-world skills, working towards the future.
"Giving students the opportunity to move past the high school level, and then to attend community college or a technical school, join the military, whatever the case may be,” said Area Superintendent for High Schools James Key.
A program offering not just a degree, but the self-confidence to achieve a brighter future.
"I'm smiling every day just because I'm back in school. I'm smiling everyday, just because I'm back in school,” Cline said.
The new academy is free, serving students ages 16 to 21.
It's part of the Durham Public School system and is made possible through local and federal funding. Other similar academies are in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.