44 Reese Education Center students overcome ‘tougher road’ to earn diplomas
By Irie Price
The Frenship Performing Arts Center was nearly filled with friends and family gathering to celebrate Reese Education Center’s 44 graduates last Thursday.
The achievement was a long time coming, explained the Reese Education Center prinicipal, Farley Reeves in an interview.
“So many of our students have taken a tougher road to get to where they’re at — either by choice or many times just the victims of circumstances of what’s going on,” he said.
For some students, the tougher road meant going to school as parents or expectant parents, becoming the first
in their family to earn a diploma, or simply overcoming feelings of inferiority and low self-worth.
“So many of the students, if they’ve gotten behind, a lot of people start thinking that they’re not capable and they’ve fallen behind for a reason — and a lot of times those reasons are not within their control,” Reeves said. “But they start to lose confidence in themselves.”
Part of the school’s work has been to imbue students with a sense of confidence, Reeves explained.
“We spend a great deal of time to try to re-establish that self-worth. Once that’s done, you win the battle.”
Students hid their battle scars well Thursday evening, beaming with pride during the ceremony.
Vroonland took the opportunity to offer the youth a few last bits of wisdom. Display good character, he told them. Be honest; live a life of integrity; persevere.
Family members got their recognition, too.
As students sat in cobalt blue robes eagerly awaiting their chance to walk across the stage, Frenship superintendent David Vroonland asked the young adults to stand, turn and applaud the family members who had worked to help them reach their academic goals.
“This is a highlight moment for them as well,” Vroonland explained to the students, who cheerfully obliged his request.
The graduation was certainly a bittersweet one for Lynn Mills, who gazed proudly at two of her grandsons, Keaton Walton and Dallas Delmere.
The young men smiled patiently in their shiny robes as camera-wielding relatives snapped photo after photo.
“There’s a lot of things they go through before they get this far,” said Mills, who teaches kindergarten through fifth grades at Reese.
Keaton is one of nine children, and Dallas’ mother died in 2004, Mills explained.
“It’s a sentimental time for me to get to watch them,” she said, sighing.
She wished Dallas’ mother could have experienced the moment, too.
Family was also on the mind of Samantha Flores as she posed for the dozen family members documenting her momentous day in photographs.
The support of her family was essential as she worked to complete her high school education, said Samantha, who has been accepted to South Plains College and Texas Tech.
She felt excited and shocked to be a graduate, she said, “Because I can’t believe I did it.”
As Samantha spoke, five of her young relatives gathered around her, asking for a picture. She spread her arms wide to envelope them in a picture-perfect embrace.
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