CBC High School Academy, last chance for dropouts

CBC High School Academy, last chance for dropouts »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. - For some students, high school life can be overwhelming. Dropping out seems like the way to go.

Student Jennifer Torres said, "I just saw them graduating and I felt like, oh, that should have been me."

She dropped out with only half a year left to go. She tried Legacy High but said the online program wasn't for her. When a new program began at Columbia Basin College, Jennifer enrolled.

The High School Academy started with two full-time teachers and just 18 students serving Richland and Kennewick school districts. Now, part-time instructors from the college help out and serve as many as 50 students.

Pasco and Columbia-Burbank Schools Districts are also on board.
The state funds the program in a similar way to funding a place for the kids in a traditional school. The High School Academy isn't a fast track to a diploma.

Director, Leonor de Maldonado said, "For those students who have the idea, well I think I'll just drop out for one quarter or one month and then maybe I'll qualify, that's not the point."

Students here have been through the process. First, they skip class and become truant then dropout all together. When they decide to come back they have to try an alternative high school first.

They end up spending countless amounts of your tax dollars going in and out of the system until they realize life can be tougher without a diploma.

Jennifer said, "My parents work in the fields so they took me there so I could see how it would be if I didn't graduate. I didn't want to be working in the fields, breaking my back for minimum wage."

Students like her get another chance to use the state's education dollars to be productive in society.

"I'm graduating with a 4.0 which is I never had in regular high school," she said.

Those who dropped out are allowed to drop back in.

So far, the High School Academy at CBC has graduated four students.
Five more are scheduled to graduate next month.

At least three of those graduates immediately enrolled in college courses at CBC.