Roughrider Academy to host Winter Graduation Tomorrow

Trinity Moore, Reporter

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Roughrider Academy will graduate 12 students at the the winter graduation ceremony in the Center High School cafeteria on Thursday, Jan 17 from 6:30 p.m. until approximately 7:15. Seven students will receive the Roughrider Foundation Scholarship.

The public is welcome to watch the graduation. The audience and participants may enter through the doors next to the student parking lot.

Roughrider Academy provides a “non-traditional academic program focusing on providing students the skills needed to be independent, critical thinkers and work or college ready at the time of graduation.”

“Different students have different paths,” Roughrider Academy Director Cindy Tillery said. “Some of them have already started college at Panola this semester, some of them won’t start until the fall to go to college, some of them are already working. So everybody is doing [life] a little bit different.  I don’t think I have anybody going to the military this semester.”

Students can enroll into Roughrider Academy at any time during the school year. If a student is likely to complete credits for the semester, they may be encouraged to finish the semester  at Center High School before transferring to the Roughrider Academy campus.

“There’s about 40 students enrolled here right now,” Tiilery said. “We’ve been up to about 55 students this semester, but we’re down to about 40 right now because of the kids that are graduating. We had 91 kids all last year. This year we’ve had about 67 so far [throughout] the year.”

The diploma earned from Roughrider Academy has the same value as one earned at Center High School. “Depending on the path chosen by students and their families, students can attend 2 or 4 year colleges, pursue a trade or technical training , enlist in the military, or go straight into the workforce.  Many students have already started their next course in education.”

“They are here and they’re taking ownership for what they do,” Fischer said. “They’re taking responsibility for their own education and that absolutely gets me going. I love it. You have a kid that’s sitting there going, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this,’ and the light comes on for them, because they’ve worked with Ms. Jodie, or they’ve worked with me, or they’ve worked with coach, or Ms Betty even. They’re seeing success, and they get to taste that, and it’s their success. It’s not, ‘I was in that group, and that group made an A.’ We’ve got kids that actually ask, ‘Will you reset this for me? Will you let me do that assignment again,’ and then they get it.”

The students Graduating from Roughrider Academy are: Le’Andreia Black, Alberto Campos, Laney Cockrell, Matthew Harvey, Mark Hutto, Wendy lopez, Jailien McDonald, Joshua McDonald, Paola Morales, Erick Pallares, David Ramos, and Diamond Tutt.

“I am so proud of them, every one of them,” Tillery said. “I love this job. This is the best job ever. It’s a great place to be; it’s a happy and sweet place and we’re thrilled to have these kids. I am grateful for everyday I get to spend with them here.”