About 30 Clark-Pleasant and Center Grove students will get to raise their children, start their careers or can join the military after earning their high school diploma this semester.
Some are finishing a semester early. For others, graduation comes a year or two after the rest of their class left high school.
Students from Clark-Pleasant and Center Grove are finishing their high school educations with commencement ceremonies this week. Other alternative academies, including Franklin Academy, do not have mid-year graduations.
Students who attend the academies are typically at risk of dropping out of high school, are failing a few classes or may have to repeat a school year, officials said.
In order to transfer to the alternative academy, students have to ask their high school guidance counselor or are referred to the school by a teacher, Bryant said.
At the academies, students spend about 3 hours at school, then use the rest of the day to work, attend Central Nine Career Center or stay home with their children. Every student volunteers once a week at food banks, elementary schools or in other organizations in Johnson County. Students also spend one day a week talking to professionals who have a job that students think they want after graduation or touring local colleges such as Ivy Tech Community College.
The academies are designed to let students work at their own pace, with students being able to complete classes in half the amount of time it would take in a traditional classroom. For some students, that has allowed them to catch up with their peers or graduate ahead of their class, even after falling behind.