MHS adds three 2013 graduates

Marshalltown High School added three graduates to its 2013 class at a special ceremony Wednesday.

The three graduates completed their work both in school and were able to make up classes missed online as part of a partnership with the Net High Academy program.

The graduates included Burma natives Zaw Ko Khant and Par Meh and Mexico native Marcos Magana Martinez.

“The intention of the program is to recapture dropouts,” said MHS Principal Aiddy Phomvisay. “They would have just dropped out otherwise.”

Students overcome language barriers and other obstacles to make up their work and become graduates.

“They have had to work hard and life has not been easy,” said Cynthia Knight, director of Net High, which is based out of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines.

Knight said the students worked diligently to get all the work done that was asked. The small ceremony in the library included music, cake and family members. Phomvisay and school board members Kay Beach and Jennifer Wilson spoke at the event.

“This is the most important obstacle in your path and you hurdled it,” Beach said.

Even though it was a small ceremony, it still meant a great deal to the students. Zaw Ko Khant said he now hopes to take his degree and move on to Marshalltown Community College.

“It’s my dream so I was trying hard,” he said. “I’m excited.”

This is the first year of the pilot program partnership MHS has with Net High. Phomvisay said some students take on the online work in addition to working full time or caring for family members.

“These students demonstrated they will do whatever it takes to graduate,” Phomvisay said.