SCOTCH PLAINS – It began in 1995 as a summer program with 35 enrollees, and fourteen years later the Union County Vo-Tech Adult High School has blossomed into a full academic and vocational course that provides more than 500 students yearly with a second chance to finish their high school education. At a ceremony on the Vo-Tech campus this morning, 150 members of the 14th graduating class received their diplomas.
“I could not be more proud of these young people,” said Vo-Tech Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Bistocchi. “Many have overcome significant obstacles to be able to stand up and receive a key to success in life, a high school diploma.”
The Adult High School maintains the academic standards expected of a high school diploma while providing a flexible schedule and supportive environment for students ages 16 to 25 who have dropped out of high school.
As with any other public school, the Adult High School does not charge tuition. Books and other course materials are also provided free of charge.
In conjunction with a service learning program of the New Jersey Youth Corps, the Adult High School helps students develop their employability and learn a vocation while earning a high school diploma. Graduates of Adult High School have gone on to college, vocational training programs, the military, and full-time employment.
The Union County Adult High School is one of the few schools of its kind to have survived recent budget cuts. There are currently about 34 similar schools in New Jersey, down from almost 60 in 2000.
State funding for the Union County Adult High School has been cut and eventually restored in each of the past five years. This year, Union County targeted $350,000 from its own share of federal stimulus grants to keep the school open until state funds became available. The stimulus funds will be refocused on other Union County education and job training programs.
For information about the Adult High School, visit the Union County Vo-Tech School’s website at www.ucvts.tec.nj.us.
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