White Stadium resounded with cheers on Monday, Aug. 29, and celebratory music could be heard across Franklin Park during the late-summer evening. There were no sporting uniforms on the field, however. The bold golds, reds and blues marching down the track were Boston high school students in cap and gown.
Approximately 235 students were awarded a diploma in a special, district-wide graduation ceremony. As part of the district’s Acceleration Agenda, students only a few credits short of graduating worked through the summer in a credit recovery program, established by Boston Superintendent Carol R. Johnson, to graduate as part of the BPS Class of 2011.
While Mayor Menino was unable to attend as planned, City Councillor Tito Jackson addressed the graduates.
"Your condition is not your conclusion," he said, sharing his personal story of challenge that began with being given up for adoption as an infant. Several students also spoke, thanking teachers, and telling peers to aggressively pursue their goals.
Ashley, a graduate, spoke of the challenges of raising her son and completing her education.
"Finishing high school was my number one goal other than preparing myself to be the best mother I could," she said. "It seemed absolutely impossible that a teen like me could do something with their life. . . but I never lost hope, I knew that if I didn't do it, no one else would. I wanted the best for me and my family. My son is now three years old, and here I am with my diploma. If there is one thing I can tell you, we decide our own fate; we make our own choices, and this one is mine."
The well-attended ceremony filled half of White Stadium, which, thanks to city workers, appeared untouched by Hurricane Irene.