Graduation: Adult school students earn diplomas
by Joel Danoy / Tracy Press
May 24, 2012 | 1466 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tracy Adult School is set to graduate a class today, May 25, that includes a wide variety of students looking to improve their situation and circumstances in life.

Kenneth Lee is a teacher at the school, and his class is required for all graduating seniors. About 60 students are expected to walk during the ceremonies at 7 p.m. at Tracy Community Center, 950 East St.

“There are a lot of the late scrambles happening right now as the students prepare to graduate,” Lee said during a phone interview Wednesday, May 23. “When we start getting close to graduation, I always try to pump up the students and push them to the end.”

He described the graduating class as “a mixture of students that didn’t have a lot of success in high school.”

“For the girls, many of them got pregnant and dropped out. But for the guys, it’s typically just that lazy attitude guys can get,” he said. “We try our best to show them a pathway to success. I always keep it real with them by trying to give them what I call ‘reality therapy’ — talking about their futures in a realistic way and being straightforward with them.”

According to Lee, “a lot” of the graduates are in their 40s with children and returned to school looking to improve their situation in life. Several students, he said, are natives of countries such as Afghanistan, China and India.

“A lot of them are shy and uncertain when they start,” he said. “But I see a lot of confidence in their writing for me by the end of the year. You can really see how they’ve overcome obstacles to make it to this day (graduation).”

Lee said that students who receive a diploma today will have countless more opportunities in employment and life.

“They have a chance now to get into that nursing program, or get an IT job or work with computers,” he said. “They gained more maturity during the process, and now that they’re graduating, you see that switch turn on, and they realize they can do something now.”
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