Students who risked being written off by society had the last laugh Friday.
The 46 River’s Edge High School seniors crossed the stage and picked up their diplomas before a full house at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
“What an example for everyone who thought they would never measure up or wanted to give up,” said Dan Chubb, principal of the Richland alternative school.
Six students, all facing their own challenges, addressed the audience.
They included Breanne Davis, who fell into a dark place after a divorce in her family, then had to move across the country from Georgia.
“Everything you’ve heard about River’s Edge is probably true,” she said. “But it is definitely not just the ‘alternative school’ that several people think it is. River’s Edge is a place where great things happen and second chances are given.”
The day seemed like an unattainable dream four years ago, said Savannah Clark, who was named the school’s student of the year. She has dealt with family health problems and homelessness. She is the first student in her family to attend college.
“I wouldn’t change anything I have gone through because it made me the person I am today, and I am very proud of that person,” said Clark, who is already a certified nursing assistant and will attend Washington State University Tri-Cities.
“We must, however, ask ourselves if this really is the end of the line, and to that I must say, if this really is the end, then it is a good end to a good chapter in a long book ahead of us,” Lehi Herrera said. “It is just the setting for a new beginning.”
Rebecca Hough was the class valedictorian.