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Graduation Boot Camp Aims To Get TPS Students Their Diploma

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Even though it's summer, the push is on at Tulsa’s Hale High School to get students to graduate with the first ever graduation boot camp. Even though it's summer, the push is on at Tulsa’s Hale High School to get students to graduate with the first ever graduation boot camp.
Annmarie Castro is one of the 55 seniors at Hale High School who came within three credits of graduating this spring. Annmarie Castro is one of the 55 seniors at Hale High School who came within three credits of graduating this spring.
Principal Sheila Riley said, "That diploma will hang over their head if they don't have it." Principal Sheila Riley said, "That diploma will hang over their head if they don't have it."
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Even though it's summer, the push is on at Tulsa’s Hale High School to get students to graduate with the first ever graduation boot camp.

Graduating from high school is a student's choice - most are 18 and could drop out, but the boot camp is teaching seniors to make decisions that will better their lives.

Annmarie Castro is one of the 55 seniors at Hale High School who came within three credits of graduating this spring.

Hoping to one day be a teacher herself, Castro is in the four-week graduation boot camp aimed at getting students like her the credits they need to get a diploma this year.

"It's a way to get involved with other people, and you get to watch them grow," she said.

Principal Sheila Riley said, "That diploma will hang over their head if they don't have it."

The course work is all computer based, but they have to work out the problem by hand.

"And then they use their scrap paper to work out the problem, and then they enter it back into the program," Riley said.

And in case of questions, the principal said there’s a teacher to help support the students and get them through.

The class is proving to be the right fit for Castro.

"It's more at your pace, it's more quieter and calmer," she said.

Hale staff is doing everything to get seniors to come.

"We've made phone calls, we've sent out emails," Riley said; they even plan to knock on doors.

"We're passionate about kids. We want kids to be successful and we'll do whatever it takes to make that happen," she said.

The passion is catching on for Castro after learning she inspired her younger sister to learn to read.

"It makes me feel alive," she said. "Told her that I like to read, and I guess that she got more involved with reading."

Castro knows getting her diploma now will allow her to help others succeed.

"It brings me this energy to do something more," she said.

Also enrolled in the boot camp are 35 other non-seniors; it’s a separate program than the district-wide summer school session that starts at the end of June.

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