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Dougherty County’s College and Career Performance Center holds first Honors Day Program

54 of the first class of 60 at-risk students stuck through the initial program

Dougherty County’s College and Career Performance Learning Center Senior Class President LaShonda McKenney is shown at the podium during the PLC’s first Honors Day Celebration Wednesday at Albany Technical College. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Dougherty County’s College and Career Performance Learning Center Senior Class President LaShonda McKenney is shown at the podium during the PLC’s first Honors Day Celebration Wednesday at Albany Technical College. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — Albany Technical College, Communities In Schools (CIS) of Georgia, the Dougherty County School System and 54 at-risk high school students got their moment in the sun this week as the county’s College and Career Performance Center (PLC) held its first honors day at ATC’s Kirkland Center.

The intent of the PLC, begun with 60 students in January, is help students who are lagging behind in graduation requirements to accelerate the completion of high school credits needed for graduation. The program also allows students who meet certain criteria to dual enroll with ATC to earn college credit and prepare for a career.

PLC Director Gloria Baker said that 12 to 14 of the center’s students have caught up, will graduate on time and will walk with their respective high school classes during DCSS graduation exercises on May 17. She added that said seven to eight more students are expected to graduate later during the summer.

In addition, 11 PLC students are currently dual enrolled at Albany Tech, and 30 juniors are expected to return to the program at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“To be honest I think that only three or four of these kids would have graduated without the PLC,” Baker said. “Some of them were really behind and needed a lot of support. The energy of my teachers, along with the support from the CIS, the DCSS, ATC, parents and families helped make this first year a success.”

“I am extremely pleased to be here today and I am so proud of these kids’ turnaround,” DCSS Director of Curriculum Ufot Inyang said.

“(CIS) is the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization,” said Virginia Monroe, executive director of the local effort. “Our unique model positions site coordinators in schools to assess student needs, provide resources to help them succeed in the classroom and in life. We partner with local businesses, social agencies, health care providers and volunteers.

“I am pleased with the way this first class has worked out. I am so proud.”

Mount Zion Baptist Church Senior Pastor the Rev. Daniel Simmons offered words of encouragement to the honorees.

“Dare to be an achiever and dare to be different,” Simmons said. “Surround yourself with people who won’t drag you down … and learn to be resilient. Reach inside of yourself and find what makes you get back up after being knocked down.