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Students get second chance to finish high school

The Youth Alliance held a graduation ceremony for students in December after they finished high school in a program designed for students who didn't finish all four years.

Posted: Dec 12, 2021 6:14 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Not everyone graduates from high school, but on Saturday some students had their own graduation ceremony to celebrate finishing a different educational program.

"It gives me hope and it gives me meaning," graduate Anika Palmer said.

The St. Joseph Youth Alliance graduated 14 students who completed their high school equivalents from the Youth Employment Program. All students finished job readiness and financial literacy training and passed all five HiSET tests to earn their HSE credentials.

"Yeah I'm really happy about it. I'm really proud of myself and everybody here, like it's really a life changer," Palmer said.

Anita Jolly is the program director of the Youth Employment Program. She says recognizing these student's achievements is a big part of how they feel successful.

"I mean they've had challenges that they've had to overcome and it's just a blessing to see them persevere and stick with it and get through and be able to celebrate today," Jolly said.

Jolly says the success the students have from this program is why they keep doing this.

"It's not just that we want them to come in and they're a participant in our program that we want them to complete. They really become you know one of our family. We really embrace them and we are as excited for them as they are to get it," Jolly said.

Graduate Anika Palmer says she has plans to stick with the Youth Alliance and continue in her education to do what she loves.

"I want to work with youth alliance again, maybe a trade school or technical school so I can get like an engineering degree. And that's what I'm shooting for, just a better life in total," Palmer said.

If you're interested, the program is currently enrolling students for the spring.

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Bitter cold temperatures have returned to the area with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills below zero this morning. Temperatures will struggle to warm up today with highs in the 20s under mostly sunny skies. Temperatures will slowly start to warm throughout the rest of the work week as dry weather continues. The weekend looks to be mild and sunny with highs in the 40s.
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