June marks a time when high school seniors celebrate their graduations and look forward to new beginnings. But sometimes, a student faces obstacles and setbacks on their journey to graduation.
For the first time since 1976, The Barry Robinson Center School (BRC) awarded a diploma to one of its residents. This resident faced and overcame obstacles with grace and grit. Her story inspires others. And, it exemplifies how BRC helps residents stay on track academically and thrive during their treatment.
The resident’s home school was in another state, and she expected to receive a diploma from that school while in treatment. Even though she met the state’s graduation requirements, the home school would not issue a diploma because she is living in Virginia temporarily, for treatment. That’s where BRC staff stepped in to find another solution.
“This resident is a tremendous success story,” said Eric Krumich, BRC’s vice president of Education. “She struggled at first, and then she worked so diligently to complete her coursework so she could graduate.”
Krumich appealed to the resident’s home school and state department of education, asking them to reconsider and award the diploma. They denied the request, so Krumich contacted the Virginia Department of Education to ensure BRC could issue a diploma. BRC’s school is fully accredited and licensed. To meet Virginia graduation requirements, though, the resident needed to take one more course, which she agreed to do.
“It’s a credit to her character and perseverance. She didn’t complain and she completed the course,” Krumich said. “She has a great attitude, and she did well academically. She earned that diploma.”
Teachers and staff planned a memorable ceremony for this special graduate on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The resident’s mother attended from out-of-state, joining staff and residents for the event. Dressed in graduation regalia, she marched proudly down the chapel aisle. The ceremony included music and a reading from other residents.
Rob McCartney, BRC’s CEO, shared a special graduation message at the ceremony, reflecting on the high school experience. Because all of BRC’s residents come from military-connected families, their experiences may look different due to frequent moves and parent deployments.
Speaking directly to the graduate, McCartney talked about her part in making this graduation day a reality.
“Everyone who comes to BRC has a choice – a choice to engage and let staff help them or a choice not to,” he explained. “You made a great choice. You chose to be here and to work and to allow others to help you. We were not willing to give up on you because you were not willing to give up on yourself.
“You’re an example to others and a reminder to all that we can be successful if we remember not to give up.”
Later this summer, the resident will discharge from BRC. She will return home, to live independently, work and begin classes at a community college. BRC staff are preparing her for this transition to adulthood and look forward to hearing about her continued progress.