Graduation honors students on untraditional path

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 14, 2018
Courtesy of: Jane Fondulis Meghan Abell smiles after receiving her diploma from the Wareham Cooperative Alternative School’s PASS Program.

Students in the Wareham Cooperative Alternative School Pathways to Academic Student Success (PASS) program did not have a traditional path to graduation. Many opted for the night school program to work during the day, care for their children or help family, said the school’s Principal Jane Fondulis.

“We do an exit survey on why they chose night school,” said Fondulis. “Many say financial reasons, there are teen moms and many of them have social and emotional issues. Day school just wasn’t working for them.”

On June 13, their hard work paid off and 27 students celebrated receiving their diplomas during a graduation ceremony.

The PASS diploma program runs similarly to the traditional high school, with core classes offered: algebra, science, geometry and more. The night school does not offer electives, however. Classes meet three or four nights a week from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The program is open to students in nearby districts as well, said Fondulis. This year, 16 PASS students are from outside the Wareham school district, said Fondulis.

In total, the program averages 50 students ages 16 to 21.

Fondulis said more than half of the graduates are scheduled to start community college classes, a handful will attend the New England Technical School and others are already in the workforce.

She noted that while the program isn’t traditional, it still helps students reach their goals in life.

PASS focuses on giving students another option to complete high school in a way that works for them, said Fondulis.

“There are many different pathways that students can achieve success,” Fondulis said.

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