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PAL celebrates the graduation of students

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Posted at 5:43 PM, May 31, 2024

HELENA — Thirty-three PAL graduating high school seniors were celebrated on Friday by family, friends, classmates, and teachers. The graduation took place at Helena Middle School.

This graduation kicked off the other commencement ceremonies happening this weekend for Helena High, Capital High, and East Helena.

PAL (Project for Alternative Learning) is an alternative high school education program. It is a path to help students who may struggle with a traditional high school education or environment to get their diploma, start a career, or pursue a college education.

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Sid Beardslee graduated on Friday and has already begun his work with Americorp. His plan is to serve with Americorp before enrolling with Full Sail University. He says that PAL gave him a safe place to grow and learn.

“This program has done literally so much for me. I start, I came here not safe from my home high school, And I literally stepped foot in and was just welcome from the very beginning,” says Beardslee.

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Anthony Walkingchild, a member of the Ojibwe, Blackfeet, and Cree tribes and of Anishinaabe descent, held his daughter Desirae as we spoke. He says PAL felt like a family and that he plans to get his CDL for heavy equipment and possibly start his own business in construction.

“It took a lot to come here. And so, just having it done and having a diploma feels great, yeah, and with this, with my daughter coming along the way, with how young I am, it feels even more great,” says Walkingchild.