By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Grand Island, NE -
They took the road less traveled, but the destination is the same. Some Grand Island students earn their diplomas a day late, at a unique graduation ceremony.
These are kids who struggled in school and weren't sure they would see this day, but now they get a day of their own in the spotlight.
Jocelyn Avila embraced family and friends, wiping tears away as she celebrated high school graduation. It's a day she wasn't sure she'd see.
And while she didn't walk with the 400-plus students who earned their diplomas from Grand Island Senior High, she's a graduate none the less.
She said, "Even my parents kind of doubted me, that's the main reason I worked so hard, is for my parents. I want their happiness before me (wanted to prove to everyone you could do it) yeah, and I did today."
35 kids graduated through something known as Ombudsman. Grand Island Public Schools contracts with this private firm, with its own teachers.
Dr. Rob Winter, GIPS Superintendent said, "They're in here every day with kids, they have two sessions, one in morning one in the afternoon. It really is a different way, a different path, but at the end of the day, the results are the same. They have their high school diploma."
Some kids have had legal trouble. A few came to graduation with children of their own
.For Jocelyn, she said she always felt out of place in high school. But found a place here, where she could get her work done without the other distractions.
Dr. Winter said Ombudsman works for some students, "for whatever reason were not successful in a traditional high school so it's an alternative program, we have 35 kids going through today, and that's 35 kids that would not have gone through otherwise, so it's a great program and we're proud of them."
The motto of Grand Island Public Schools is "Every Student, Every Day, a Success", and they say this is further proof they do what they can to live up to that.