Students graduate Hope, Twilight programs

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 5/19/18

The fourth Hope Academy and Twilight Knight School graduation was held Thursday, where 15 students were presented with their high school diplomas for taking charge of their education.Hope Academy and …

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Students graduate Hope, Twilight programs

Posted

The fourth Hope Academy and Twilight Knight School graduation was held Thursday, where 15 students were presented with their high school diplomas for taking charge of their education.

Hope Academy and Twilight Knight School was started by the Walker County Board of Education to give students a second chance to complete high school. For many of the graduates, they encountered circumstances that prevented them for attending school during normal hours. Through Hope and Twilight, they are able to take classes during the day (Hope) and late evening (Twilight) at the old Walker High School in Jasper.

Jasper City Schools and Walker County Schools formed a partnership last year where students in Hope and Twilight can share the facility and benefit from the programs housed there.

Walker County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Adkins addressed a crowded room at the board of education Thursday, as he was surrounded by the graduates of Hope and Twilight.      

"A few years ago, out of a Reader's Digest, an idea was born, and it involved students that had somehow fell through the cracks due to things that they couldn't control, or maybe they needed to work," Adkins said. "We began to realize that there are situations that kids just can't cope with, and we believe we are responsible for doing something about that."

Through discussions, he said Hope and Twilight was born, and roughly 15 students have graduated annually from the program since 2015. Some students may have to work, assist a relative, or care for a child of their own, and the programs allows them an alternative option to traditional school. 

While originally designed to serve Walker County Schools' students, a Jasper High School student graduated the program for the first time Thursday.

"It's another opportunity to give kids an opportunity, and that's what we're about. As you can see, this is evidence that the program did work," Adkins said. "These people made a choice to not be a statistic, to not fall victim to the circumstances that arise. They took control of their future and chose to be courageous enough to stick through school when it wasn't easy."

Adkins looked to the graduates and said, "We're so proud of you for doing that. We thank you for making that decision, and I think it's something that will afford you a whole lot of benefits the rest of your life."

He said Hope and Twilight has been recognized throughout the state for its innovative approach to education.

Ricky Pate, director of the 180 alternative school and Hope and Twilight programs, also spoke during the graduation ceremony. 

"This is something Walker County can be proud of, and I've enjoyed being a part of it," he said.

The graduates of this year's 2018 Twilight program are Yasmine Katoria Davis of Jasper High School; Hannah Brooke Odom and Shaelyn Nicole Smothers of Carbon Hill High School; Hayden Riley Alexander Ferrell, Ali Ophelia Hendrix, Andrew James Welch John, Alec William Odom, Blake Allen Richardson and Andrew Connor Wesson of Cordova High School; and Taylor Mackenzie Barker, Shelby Ziegler Coleman, Bryanna Macheala Dunbar, Krissa Ann Hoobler, Caleb Austin White and Justin Eugene Woodard of Curry High School. Woodard is also a Hope graduate.

The graduates will have an opportunity to participate in the graduation ceremonies at their respective high schools.