High risk students shocked to walk across the stage earlier than expected.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT)-- It's a moment that many of these graduates will carry with them forever.

"It just really means a lot, I'm shaking to be honest," said graduate Isaiah Parson.

For many students, personal struggles was a battle in itself.

"The way I mostly did school work I was really behind on it a lot," said Parson.

Alacia Robertson, another graduate, said she wasn't doing well in class either.

"I wasn't doing too good that year in 11th grade, and for some reason I failed five classes," Parson said

"I had a rough time with school, I didn't like it," said Alexander Dowds.

For these 13 students, the typical classroom setting wasn't working.

That's when they joined the reaching potential through manufacturing program.

Working four hours in the classroom, and four hours as a part time employee at Textron.

"They boosted my confidence, he was like hey you can do this get it done," said Dowds.

For Jason Moore, the principal of RPM, he says allowing students to go to school while also working in the real world keeps them focused.

"I'm doing math because I'm working with engineers or something and they start to really engage academically because of the work," said Moore.

"We can get them back on track and keep them from dropping out."

That's what made today so special.

"It made me cry a lot," said Robertson.

Many of the students never thought they would graduate, but now they have big plans ahead.

One goal down, and a lifetime to accomplish.