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Eastside recognizes 4 students

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By Jesef Williams

The songs belted out by the Salem AME Zion youth choir complemented the occasion well.

As they sang "Get Ready for Your Miracles" and "God's Got a Blessing with Your Name On It," four teenagers waited to receive certificates while reflecting on the strides they made over the last several months.

Eastside Academy, Lancaster County School District's alternative school, held its transition/graduation ceremony Dec. 17 at the multipurpose room of the Barr Street campus.

Four of the school's 22 students received certificates of completion and will resume classes this week at one of the district's high or middle schools.

The students had been referred to Eastside so staff there could help them address behavior issues, truancy or other problems that detracted them from their regular school learning experience.

The 2007 fall graduates are (along with the school each will attend this semester):

- Quinterius Clinton, South Middle School

- Issa Ishmael, South Middle School

- Timothy Price, Buford Middle School

- Kyndal Robinson, Lancaster High School

Guest speaker Bruce Brumfield, president and chief executive officer of Founders Federal Credit Union, reminded the students about the importance of hard work and determination. The Salem AME Zion youth choir offered several songs of inspiration during the ceremony.

"Don't ever give up," Brumfield said. "Nobody's life is perfect all the time. We're all going to have challenges. We're all going to have bad days."

Robinson, 14, had been a truant student but has refocused since coming to Eastside.

Her uncle, Greg Sigmon, says he's proud of Robinson's hard work.

"I've always known she was smart," Sigmon said of his niece, who garnered several special awards during the ceremony. "But if you don't apply it, it's wasted. Im glad she's doing good."

To graduate, a student must exhibit good behavior, display leadership, earn at least an 86 overall average, receive parental support and meet mental heath guidelines, said director Shirnetha Belk.

Some students attend the academy for only a few weeks, while some are there for two years, which is the longest a student can attend.

"We are proud of them," Belk said of the graduates. "They earned it."

Contact Jesef Williams at 283-1152 or jwilliams@thelancasternews.com