Olivia Ali, Reno Gazette Journal
The Redfield Academy graduated eight students on Friday, June 7 in Rancho San Rafael Park.
The Redfield Academy was designed by The Children’s Cabinet, Washoe County School District and Washoe County Juvenile Services in 2008. The “alternative school” helps Washoe County School District students achieve graduation if they have fallen two or more semesters behind.
At the graduation ceremony on Friday evening, students said they may not have graduated on time if it were not for the Redfield Academy.
“The school helped me a lot,” said graduate Alexis Marshall. “It’s pretty much like a credit recovery, so when I was messing up a lot in a normal high school, they helped me get back on track so I could graduate on time.”
Redfield Academy teacher Ramon Valencia said the school helps students find their passions and what they want to do.
“It’s not putting up with anybody,” Valencia said. “It’s helping you find yourself and find your motivation to get where you want to go. That’s probably one of the hardest things, is to help you find your motivation. Anyone can go to school and go through the motions but you were there and you wanted to finish. You wanted to get moving.”
Redfield Academy Program Director Lacey Keele says the students would have graduated regardless.
“This is very special to us,” Keele said. “I would like to say they wouldn’t have graduated but in all reality, they have the passion and the drive to get it done. However, Redfield is such a unique campus and has given them the opportunity to look at their individual strengths first.”
Families and friends of graduates, representatives from Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto’s office, members of the Children’s Cabinet, Redfield Academy teachers and WCSD administrators attended the ceremony.
“We are just so proud of these graduates,” said President of WCSD Board of Trustees Katy Simon Holland. “These kids are our kids and have come through a lot. Many of them have had terrible, terrible challenges in their lives and you can see by the people that are here today to support them how proud people are of what they have overcome to achieve their high school completion. We thank the Children’s Cabinet and the Redfield Academy for all of their support because they are going to go places.”
The Redfield Academy graduates will also walk in a graduation ceremony with the WCSD at Lawlor Events Center on Monday, June 10.
Olivia Ali is the Summer 2019 intern reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal. She is a junior at the University of Nevada, Reno and will be the editor-in-chief of The Nevada Sagebrush, the student paper at UNR.