GREAT FALLS – Great Falls Public Schools and Cascade County Juvenile Detention Center have been joining forces to get kids back on the right path and the success rate happens to be very high.
Two teachers, April Senger and Adam Jerome have worked hard to turn the program around. When they first took on the task, the program had only four students graduate in the past 16 years. However, the numbers have changed. Just this past year, they were able to celebrate 22 graduates.
The program called HiSet works with those at the juvenile detention center to range what level they need to be at. Once that’s figured out, the students work with the teachers in all subjects to get their GED.
For some, the program can take up to a little over a year, but for others, just over twenty hours. But April Senger tells us this is not easy.
“To be that adult that they can have success with and have some failures with, and I don’t know, I guess give them the encouragement to get back on their feet, and to get back in there and keep pursing their dreams. To me, that’s a huge reward and a big part of my job. I’m just proud of them to stick with it and take chances even when it gets hard,” Senger said.
Unfortunately, the graduates can not be identified, but we were able to speak with them.
One 17-year old graduate tells us he is turning his life around for his little brother and wants to set a good example for him.
“I’m going to treatment and I’m changing my life. It’s just another thing that made me believe in myself,” the graduate said.
MTN also spoke with a woman whose nephew was an honored graduate for the day.
“It’s awesome to see that he did it, especially where he’s at. It just shows that everybody, it does not matter where you are, you can still better your life. Coming here today and seeing it, it just shows me that all those kids out there saying, you know, places they are, positions they are in, they can’t make it or get further, it just shows you. Both these kids did it today. Anybody can do it,” Kala Pedersen said.
Senger adds that the program is great because once a kid sees the success from another, it encourages more to sign up.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News