Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the first graduating class of its kind in the Racine Unified School District crossed the stage. This group of new Horlick High School alumni were part of RUSD’s new path to graduation, the competency-based diploma program.
The program gives students who may not have thought they had a chance of graduating an opportunity to recover credits and graduate in one semester. It was brought to RUSD thanks to a partnership with the city of Racine and YWCA Southeast Wisconsin and is a slightly modified version of the YWCA’s traditional adult education program. Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge in different subjects through portfolios of work and every piece of work must score over 80 percent.
The program started small at all three of RUSD’s comprehensive high schools, but there are plans to grow it. There’s already a waitlist for students who want to participate.
It’s no wonder why. Through this program, students say they found the path they needed to succeed and overcome the obstacles that had knocked them off track. As they crossed the finish line in their caps and gowns on a cold winter morning, the students’ grins of pride and joy warmed the hearts of everyone in attendance.