For many the road to graduation was a long and difficult one and June 22 was a day of triumph.
Thirty-six students graced the risers of Orleans/Niagara BOCES' Niagara Academy gym. They came from Albion, Barker, Grand Island, Kenmore Tonawanda, Lewiston-Porter, Lockport, Medina, Newfane, Niagara Falls, Niagara-Wheatfield and North Tonawanda school districts. Before they came to the Academy many of them were struggling to make it through their own schools. Their districts, seeing that their needs could not be met with them, sent them to the Academy under the care of Principal Dr. Sushma Sztroc, Assistant Principal Denielle Ander and the teachers and support staff.
Some of the students had been at the alternative school since middle school and some had just recently come. Along with getting their diplomas many also studied a career and technical education program at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center and came away with technical endorsements and employable skills. It was with a lot of pride that family and friends listened as Sztroc talked about each graduate's journey as they came up to accept their diploma from their home district's representatives. After all the graduates had received their diploma and sat and watched a movie detailing their school career at the Niagara Academy, Sztorc had just one wish for them all, "That they receive everything they hope and dream for."