San Benito CISD’s Gateway to Graduation Academy first opened its doors during the 2009-2010 school year.

The mission of Gateway to Graduation Academy is to provide every student with the academic skills and confidence in a nurturing environment to become graduates and life long learners in an ever-changing society.

Designed to help the district’s dropout recovery efforts and prevent future dropouts, the school has since then been providing opportunities for students that had dropped out of school or those that were lacking credits to earn their high school diploma.

Six years later, Gateway to Graduation Academy has helped 487 students successfully complete their graduation requirements, empowering students to continue fulfilling their long-term educational career goals.

Under the leadership of Principal Rolando Guerra, the campus currently provides students with opportunities such as on-line credit recovery efforts, night classes, some Saturday academies, and student incentives leading to a diploma and a college or career setting.

Each semester, the students also participate in local college tours to learn more about the post-secondary education possibilities. The school also provides its students with social services and academic counseling, which affords them the guidance and resources needed as they prepare for their future goals.

“The vision of Gateway to Graduation Academy is to provide an environment that allows students to experience success through an alternative curriculum,” explains Guerra.

The campus vision is coming to fruition as 90 students successfully completed all requirements necessary to earn their high school diploma during the 2015-2016 school year alone.

The alternative campus places students on a fast track toward graduation with their peers and/or accelerates their learning. They are provided with the necessary lessons and requirements needed to pass the End of Course STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) test.

Every student enrolled at this campus has a story to tell and challenges to overcome.

“Gateway has given me a second chance to prove myself. They helped me succeed,” said summer graduate Eric N. Leal.

Leal plans to pursue a post-secondary education, taking his basics at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen before transferring to Texas A&M University – Kingsville to study criminal justice and minor in automotive technology.

While some students have enrolled at Gateway due to a lack of credits, others have made a commitment to finish their graduation requirements after dropping out of school. School personnel are instrumental in assisting and encouraging them to complete their graduation requirements.

“When I stopped believing in myself, they believed in me. They never gave up on me,” reflects summer graduate Adrian Monreal, adding that going college to become a nurse or dental assistant are future goals.

The stories are both endless and inspiring.

“I feel that I am unstoppable and can succeed in college,” summer graduate Ruby Montemayor proudly exclaimed. She added that she now knows the importance of an education and plans on going to college.

The excitement will continue this upcoming year as the campus highly anticipates celebrating a major milestone – when it graduates its 500th student.

Registration for the 2016-2017 school year will begin on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Students will be able to register Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM.

For additional information about Gateway to Graduation Academy’s academic opportunities and enrollment requirements, contact the campus at 956-361-6446.