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There is a saying that it is not a sprint, but a marathon when it comes to working hard for something.  The 170 graduates from two Houston Can Academy campuses show drive and determination to finish the race when all else failed. They are part of the 1,123 high school seniors from the 12 Texans Can Academies schools across the state of Texas that comprise a record breaking number graduation class number in the school’s history. Most of the graduating students struggled in a traditional high school setting, overcame difficult family obstacles or were looking for an opportunity to continue their education and have flexibility to work, raise a child or do both.

Jennifer Jimenez is one of the spring graduates who made the choice to ignore negative influences and focus on her goal to graduate from high school. Jennifer is a survivor in more than one way. Jennifer is a cancer survivor, presently in remission and a patient of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Hospital – UT. After dropping out of a traditional high school three times she chose to better her future and enroll with Houston Can Academy. She has two children and often doesn’t have access to childcare. She shows her dedication to her education by walking to school from Pasadena. Her dedicated personality is contagious and, along with her education, will carry her through in the pursuit of her dreams for herself as well as her children. 

The senior credits dedicated teachers and advisors that believed in her and pushed her to do her best in school for helping her earn her high school diploma. Her self-confidence grew with her teachers’ consistent support and encouragement, after previously dropping out of high school three times. Jennifer seized a second chance at high school instead of letting her past define her. She enrolled at Houston Can Academy Hobby campus after struggling in a traditional high school due to incredibly difficult circumstances. 

Jennifer’s story is just one of several at the spring commencement ceremonies of students persevering to earn their high school diplomas from the two Houston Can Academies. This year a dedicated group of students qualified to compete on a robotics team won 3rd place in the state competition and advanced to the national competition at Louisiana State University. The newly formed robotics team beat all the odds of a first year team with limited funding is rivaling other high school teams who have been competing for years.

“The opportunities that our graduates have are endless.  It is our job as educators to make sure we encourage and support our students and guide them down the right path in life so they can win the race,” said Richard Marquez, CEO of Texans Can Academies. “We are dedicated to helping them understand that a strong education is the key to winning.”

School

Date

Time

Address

Houston North Campus

6/1/16

10:30 a.m.

6650 Rankin Road

Humble, TX 77396

Houston Hobby Campus

6/2/16

11:00 a.m.

Houston Baptist University – McNair Hall

7502 Fondren Road

Houston, TX 77074

Faculty members of Houston Can Academies, part of the Texans Can Academies charter school district, will shake the hands of their graduates, and present 170 diplomas to students who have had many more challenges in their school years than the typical graduating high school senior. The one-on-one attention, small class room size and educating the “whole child” approach at Texans Can schools has helped students succeed in fulfilling the state of Texas requirements to walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas and hold the beginning to more opportunities. 

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