The Orleans/Niagara BOCES Alternative Parenting Program recently celebrated the graduation of several young women from its program.
For teacher Peg Behnke it is always a proud and happy moment. "I have had a lot of young women come through this program. Many of them are ready to drop out of school because they are finding it too difficult to manage being a parent and their schoolwork. We try to give them the support and encouragement to stick with it and achieve their goal of graduating high school."
The Alternative Parenting Program is a comprehensive in-school instructional and intervention program for pregnant and parenting teens and their children held at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center in Sanborn. The goal is to get the students to complete their education and earn their high school diploma.
Not only do students learn the basic curriculum, students get a chance to participate in the career and technical programs that BOCES offers, learn parenting skills, positive health care practices, and focus on careers, college planning and life management skills.
"It was a very emotional ceremony. The students have to overcome so many obstacles related to pregnancy and the parenting of a child," says Behnke. "They are in a state of disbelief that they are graduating. I think the realization of everything they have been through and all the work they have done in order to succeed finally hits home on the day of their senior recognition ceremony. I am so proud of them all for what they have accomplished."
Shown are graduates of the Orleans/Niagara BOCES Alternative Parenting Program and their children: Jennifer Scott and Douglas from Niagara-Wheatfield, Danielle Ranney and Jadyan from North Tonawanda, Kourtney Williams and Lilli from Niagara-Wheatfield, Kiersti Kuntz, Kaylee Brown and Javion from North Tonawanda, Amanda Ehrenberg and Shiloh from Starpoint, and Mary Saylor from Wilson.