Local program helps students make it to graduation

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Updated: 6/25 6:43 pm

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. – Operation Graduation at a local high school helps students make it to graduation

Melissa Gleason is the lead teacher for Operation Graduation. She is responsible for helping 14 at-risk students graduate from Columbia High School.

“My students have come across some really great barriers in order to simply come to school,” she said.

Brianna Green was one of those students who graduated from the program Wednesday.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it. Nope,” she said. “I failed my freshman year, and I didn’t think I was going to graduate with my class, but with this program I am.”

Green has renewed confidence and is looking ahead to college where she will study Criminal Justice at Bryant and Stratton College with hopes of joining the FBI.

She said the biggest advantage of the program is the attention from the teachers.

“They give you a lot of attention which is, personally, I needed the most,” she said. “I like to have one-on-one attention and work one-on-one with a teacher.”

Operation Graduation is funded through the East Greenbush district community and the Board of Education. Those in charge of the program are given referrals for students who are behind in credits, and after an interview and evaluation, a curriculum is assessed for the student in question.

The 14 students in the program were once at risk of dropping out but are now walking across the stage with their fellow Columbia High School classmates on Saturday.

“I would argue that they have a leg up on the rest of the graduates because they faced different parts of adversity in their lifetime, and they’ve learned how to overcome them and that’s what life is all about, so congratulations to the Operation Graduation class of 2014 – the best years are left to come,” Assemblyman John McDonald said.

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