SAN BENITO — It was a rocky road, but the students of Amador R. Rodriguez Juvenile Boot Camp made it through.
San Benito CISD Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman and school board president Michael Vargas were in attendance and handed out diplomas to the students.
The boot camp hosted a graduation ceremony this past week for 10 of its students who received their GED.
While 10 were graduating, only four of the students were in attendance.
Principal Rolando Guerra oversees the alternative program and said the GED program is still relatively new.
Students are sent to the camp from all over the Valley and typically are enrolled for six to nine months at a time.
Guerra said the students are brought into the program after they see the students’ performance in the classroom and on the state mandated exam, STAAR.
“We know they have the potential to do well,” Guerra said.
Students tend to leave the camp at the age of 17 and this is when they stop going to class, Guerra said.
The GED program was introduced to keep them engaged, but it is voluntary.
“We don’t force them into it, we want them to want it for themselves,” Guerra said.
But the help doesn’t stop there.
Guerra said the program continues to work with the students and parents to help them ease into a secondary education.
Former student Wilfredo Montoya was the keynote speaker at the graduation and one of the first GED graduates with the program.
“He is one semester away from graduating from TSTC,” Guerra said proudly.
At the moment, students are transported to GED testing sites, but the program is working to make the campus certified to test students in the future.