Their course of study might have been a bit unorthodox, but the graduates of Glendale Unified's alternative education programs Thursday had all the trimmings and trappings of a traditional commencement ceremony.
“It is amazing,” said Verdugo Academy graduate Anni Avanesyan, 17, as she lined up in her cap and gown. “Finally, I am finished. I can say I have my high school diploma.”
The celebration at First United Methodist Church in Glendale was a three-way event, featuring the district's alternative high school programs. In addition to Verdugo Academy, they include Re-ConnectEd Glendale and Daily High School.
All three are run out of the Daily High campus, and are designed to accommodate students for whom a traditional high school setting is not a good fit. Some are pursing their diplomas while balancing extraordinary family obligations, others are parenting young children, and many are working.
This year, a total of 104 students received their diplomas through the alternative programs, Daily High School Principal Chris Coulter said, with 68 present at the ceremony Thursday.