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Obstacles Overcome, High School Continuation Students Graduate

by ARLnow.com June 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm 4,640 17 Comments

“Our journey has not been easy, but somehow we’ve overcome the obstacles in our way.”

Newly-minted high school graduate Rachel Wilburn was a two-time high school dropout with a kid and another on the way when she entered the Langston High School Continuation Program. This morning, she was given the honor of addressing about 150 fellow Langston and Arlington Mill high school continuation graduates at the Washington-Lee auditorium.

“Despite everything that has come our way, there is a voice in our unconscious minds that said ‘I will not give up on myself,’” she said. “I thank God for giving us the strength to make it through this.”

Wilburn credited her parents, her husband and her parents-in-law with helping her to find Langston and make it through the teen parenting program. With their support, she even achieved perfect attendance in her third trimester.

Wilburn said she now plans to attend college to study business and human resource, so that she can give her kids “the best possible future.”

“I’m a wife and a mother of two amazing children who I can’t see my life without,” she said. “This program is such a blessing.”

For Arlington Mill graduate Joel Diaz, who turned 21 today, going back to high school in his 20s was “embarrassing.” But, he said, he was able to overcome that initial trepidation and thrive.

“After I began going to Arlington Mill… I realized that a lot of us, we’re just different. We all have different stories, we’re all on different paths, we all have different goals,” he said. “Going through this has made me a stronger person. Our paths do not have to define our future.”

“I have been waiting for this day so long,” Diaz continued. “I hope you realize that this is not the end but the beginning.”

More photos, after the jump.

  • Thes


    • Guest McGuest.

      Well, I can see you don’t know much about puppies.

  • CrystalMikey

    Wow…congrats to these grads. Just goes to show that when life brings you down, you can fight your way back up!

  • Stu Pendus

    Great article. Lots of reasons to respect their achievements and personal stories. Not the least of which is being legal.

    • TGEoA

      After we educate them, we can deport them.

  • This should be good.

    so it begins.

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    Congratulations. This is a great success story. hard working kids. Excellent County Program.

    • cj


  • John Fontain

    I offer a huge round of applause to these graduates. The difficulties many of them had to overcome were significant. They should be extremely proud of their accomplishments!

  • If you or someone you know in Arlington (regardless of age) would like to finish a high school diploma, check out the link to Arlington’s High School Continuation program.

  • The link can be found at:

  • Arlwhenever

    Every one of these students bounced back and perservered in some way, shape or form. One way or another they all had become a child left behind, risking or moving into adulthood without a high school education.

    The graduates are all to be congratulated. The High School Continuation Program is one of the most important and least appreciated things that APS does. It’s about showing up and doing the work and creating a path to becoming an independent and productive member of our society. Fantastic!!

  • Louise

    Great article.

  • SoCo Resident

    Wonderful that ARLNOW readers give their support to these honored graduates. How difficult it must be to go back and get that degree. Unfortunately, Stu Pendus and TGEoA had to try to put these hard working, praise-worthy members of our community down.

  • WayToGo

    Congrats to all these graduates who have persevered and obtained their diploma! Best of luck for a successful future!!!

  • This should be good.

    I take it all back….Typically these type of articles only encourage rude comments and jabs at how all our tax money is going here and there. Nice to see some words of encouragement and respect. Congrats, I can’t imagine how hard it was to attend HS at that age. I hope the momentum continues and college is in the future.

  • Liz

    Fantastic! What a great program!


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