School board honors diploma recovery graduates

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Group is largest to come from evening program

By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Board of Education meeting was overflowing with guests on Thursday to celebrate the successes of four returning students and one overachiever.

The board welcomed students who had returned to school to earn high school diplomas with the Diploma Recovery program after dropping out of school, and dozens of family, friends and former teachers were on hand to congratulate them.

Marco Osorio Sapon also received his diploma. Sapon, a student at Cropper was allowed permission to work through his junior and senior years at the same time because his family is moving back to Guatemala later this year.

Through a combination of working through the COMPASS Learning online system at Cropper and in the evenings with the credit recovery program, Sapon finished two years of classes this year.

This is the third graduation ceremony the district has held, with the first coming last May, but it was by far the biggest and included the oldest graduate the schools have seen.

John Goodman, 47, earned his diploma after dropping out of Shelby County High School when he was 14 to get a job and help his family, according to a release on the district’s Web site.

Other students had dropped out for family reasons, such as Travis Sloan, or because they didn’t like it, such as Daron Dugle, or just because school was difficult and they found it hard to stay out of trouble, such as Jessica Hutchins.

But all agreed that coming back to get a diploma would get them back on the right track to success.

“I’m now open to whatever comes along,” Dugle said in the district’s release. “I may even try college.”

The graduation can be seen on Shelby County Public School’s official YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/shelbycountyschools?feature=watch.