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  • Pima Vocational High School graduates 28

    Jun 10, 2015 | Read More News
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    When Samantha picks up her high school diploma June 11 from Pima Vocational High School, it will mark the end of a journey filled with the kinds of obstacles no young person should have to face: drug addiction, physical and verbal abuse, homelessness. She even battled an eating disorder that compelled her to go as long as seven days at a time subsisting on nothing but water.

    PVHS graduating seniorsBut Samantha battled through all of that and will stride across the stage at Hotel Tucson Inn Suites with 27 classmates to share the stories that led them to graduate. She credits the personal attention from teachers and counselors at the school for pushing her to succeed.

    “I always felt so alone in my life, but I never felt that way here,” Samantha, 19, said. “These teachers have given me the tools I needed.”

    Samantha wasn’t the only PVHS student to beat the odds. Anthony, 18, fought depression and suicidal tendencies before settling in at PVHS, his fifth high school. LaVanna, 22, stuck with Pima Vocational because she was determined to make a better life for her sons, age 5 and 2.

    “I’m not going to stay in these basic, minimum-wage jobs all my life,” said LaVanna, who plans to enroll at Pima Community College to train as a dental hygienist.

    PVHS serves young people who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of traditional high school. For many of the students, Pima Vocational has been their third or fourth school.

    Pima Vocational High School is a program of the Pima County Community Services, Employment and Training Department. The students, who must meet all of the Arizona Essential Skills requirements to graduate, take courses on resume writing and career skills and can earn paid job placements and internships. In addition, students meet weekly with an advisor and attend classes with 15 or fewer students.

    Of the 28 students graduating Thursday night, all are low income, six are parenting, 15 are homeless and 16 are court-involved. Each graduate will speak at the ceremony before giving flowers to a family member or friend who inspired them.

    PVHS offers classes at two campuses: 97 E. Congress St., Suite 30, downtown; and at 5025 W. Ina Road in northwest Tucson.