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Travis Hill School celebrates winter graduation for three smiling graduates

NEW ORLEANS - 01-05-2023

THill_1The Travis Hill School located inside the Orleans Justice Center hosted Winter graduation ceremonies for three smiling and deserving students who endured to earn their high school diplomas.

The graduation was attended by school administrators, social workers, OJC staff, New Orleans Public School officials and guests of the graduates.

School staff gave special tributes to each graduate. Travis Hill School Chief Academic Officer Rachel Lewis shared a tribute to graduate Keymon Bush recalling some of her favorite memories of him.

"I'm so proud of you! I'm proud of all the ways you have changed over the years. you committed yourself to your school work and buckled down to earn all your credits. You have grown up and become more focused," Lewis said. "You are and have always been one of the kindest people I've ever met and that has never changed no matter the circumstances You maintain a joyful spirit despite many challenges."

Prior to receive their diplomas, the graduates each shared a few words about their own journeys to graduation.

THill_2"I want to thank all the teachers, staff and deputies for leading me to the correct path toward graduation," Tyrese Carter said as he held back tears. "After nearly a year in OJC, I was finally able to accomplish my graduation and passed my leap, something I struggled to do at my last school. Although t is harsh environment to be graduating, I am proud of myself and my classmates and wish nothing but a bright future for all of us."

Travis Hill offers high school diploma-focused school for 50 to 75 residents at OJC who are between 16 and 21 years old and eligible to attend high school. Nearly all of the students housed at OJC have experienced school failure—many did not attend school regularly and were suspended or expelled—and most are far behind their peers academically.

THill_3To tell you the truth I didn't think I would make it to this day to accomplish this goal in my life," Ivory Grant said. "I especially want to thank Ms. Faulk. She was counting down the days with me and getting me up everyday and with that it let me know she cared and that I have someone in my corner."

NOLA Schools Superintendent Avis Williams who joined the ceremonies via Zoom commended the graduates on their accomplishment and gave three great pieces of advice.

"Be YOU," Williams said. " You are enough and you are worth every amount of celebration you get today and beyond. I also want to encourage you to be the best version of yourself possible."

Be a role model, " she added. "Al lot of people have not made it to where you are. This is big and a lot of people are looking up to you as a role model, guide and mentor. While you're being the best version of yourself, model that for others so they can do the same."THill_4

Following the ceremony, the graduates were treated to cupcakes and spent some special time celebrating with their friends and families during personal zoom calls.

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