Innovations Academy is the program in USD 475 that offers a second chance to students that are at risk of not graduating high school. Students often arrive at Innovations with fewer credits than they should have towards graduation, but still have a desire to get back on track. Through hard work and a positive attitude, many of them catch up and graduate with their class.
This week, Innovations saw what hard work and determination can accomplish when one of their students graduated from the program.
Tyler Sinklier has a personality that is larger than life. His smile is almost too big for his face. His teachers remark that they always know when he is at school because he is either tracking mud through the halls or giving a piggyback ride to a fellow student.
Tyler is a remarkable young man, which is why it is no surprise that there was standing room only at his graduation celebration. There were even members of the Junction City Police Department in attendance to help him celebrate his accomplishment. His grandparents were in attendance, and they brought Tyler’s pug to help celebrate the occasion.
Graduations at Innovations are such a special occasion that they are planned as soon as a student completes the required credits for graduation. Usually, within a week of a student completing their work, Principal Wesoloski plans a special ceremony for the student and ensures the whole senior class is in attendance. While each student is presented with a certificate, it is not an official diploma. Graduates from Innovations will receive their diplomas with the rest of the graduating class from JCHS, in May.
During the ceremony, teachers are often invited to speak about the graduate and talk about the changes the have seen in the student since coming to the program. Mr. Stevens spoke and said he can hear Tyler from anywhere in the building. Miss Holt always made a space for Tyler to come and complete his work in her class, even when he was not scheduled to be in it.
Tyler’s grandmother also came to speak about his accomplishment. She prayed for this day for two years and told Tyler how extremely proud she was of him for what he has accomplished. She was so thankful to see her grandson grow into a successful man.
When it was Tyler’s turn to speak, he thanked his teachers for putting up with him. He was especially grateful to Miss Brantley for not giving up on him, even though she asked him to leave her class almost every day. Mr. Wesoloski then presented Tyler with his certificate of completion, a book, and then left him with some parting words: “Whatever you decide to do, do it right.”