Israeli air force cadets toss their caps into the air during a graduation ceremony for new pilots in Hatzerim air force base near the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, Israel, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

More than 400 Red Deer students have graduated through Finish Line program

More than 400 students have now earned their high school diplomas through The Finish Line program, says Red Deer Public Schools.

These students were no longer in school and had not completed their high school graduation requirements.

“Now more than ever, achieving a high school diploma is important. It creates life chances,” said Kristine Plastow, Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools chair.

“Employers are asking for a minimum of a high school diploma when looking at candidates, and often those candidates are required to upgrade for post secondary to gain acceptance into a chosen field.”

Finish Line allows students who did not graduate an opportunity to complete their diploma and reach their full potential.

For some Finish Line students, they may have been a few credits short of earning their diploma, and for others the task may have seemed monumental. But with the help of program co-ordinator Sharon Schultz, they were able to achieve their goal.

“Students are surprisingly honest when they are asked about their academic history,” said Schultz.

“They may not be proud of their lack of completion, but they are now ready to reach that finish line. Many will say that getting a call and having someone welcome them to the completion process is the first step. Most have said that they would not have taken the initiative on their own had they not been contacted for the program.”

This year, 35 students accessed the program.

“Each of these individuals have unique stories and backgrounds and have worked hard to complete courses,” said Schultz.

Some of the students of the program this year included a single mom who works full-time and is raising her four-year-old son. Another young graduate, working as a hospital aide, can now apply for the Bachelor of Nursing program because of her high school diploma.

“With the pandemic, there has been a large increase in overage students wanting to complete their high school courses. Being laid off from a current job, being unable to find work, and being driven by the basic need to be productive, led to a huge increase in overage students accessing the program,” said Schultz.

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