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Commencement for The Crossing alternative school students held

By June 18, 2012No Comments

By JUSTIN CRIPE NAPPANEE — Lindsay Chupp of Goshen is a 2012 high school graduate. While hundreds of other teens can make the same claim around the area, her road to receiving her diploma — which she did Friday night as a graduate of The Crossing — was lined with obstacles very few others, if any, have had to overcome. Two years ago, when Chupp was 16, she was raped, an experience so traumatic that she turned to using drugs and alcohol, as well as cutting herself. She admitted that these alternatives were a way to ease the pain of the experience. But as a student at Elkhart Christian Academy, those vices got her expelled. As someone who wanted to continue their education, her options were limited. “No public school would accept me because I had drug charges,” she said. Her only way to continue her education and stay on a path to a better life was The Crossing. The Crossing is an alternative, faith-based school for students who have trouble learning in traditional school settings. They are state accredited and receive students from public high schools. According to executive director Rob Staley, stories like hers are common. “For them to achieve this recognition is really quite an accomplishment,” Staley said. “This is something that they appreciate and don’t take for granted because of what they have gone through.” This was the ninth commencement, according to Staley, and the graduating class of 17 is about the average for this region. Students from Elkhart, South Bend and Nappanee campuses were on hand Friday night at Nappanee Missionary Church to receive their degrees. The graduation was a little different than a traditional public school graduation. Given that students do not receive Cs, Ds or Fs, in essence every student was a valedictorian. And as a result, they each had to give a speech Friday. Also according to principal Kristie Cerling, giving that the commencement was viewed as a celebration, the cheering usually frowned upon at other graduations was encouraged. Matt Erdel, a teacher’s assistant at the Elkhart campus, who just began this past January, said that the setting at The Crossing allows for a very unique learning experience. “There is a lot of one-on-one interaction with students, so you can really work with them on specific concepts to make sure they are understanding the material,” he said. “It’s really encouraging to see it kind of click for the students.” Even though Chupp has a strong support system in her family, it has still been a trying year. She admitted she dealt with bouts of depression over the past year, due in part to the death of her grandfather. But Friday night, the fruits of her hard work paid off in the form of a diploma. She said that she plans to go to Ivy Tech in the fall for two years to pursue nursing, specifically the depression ward, in the hopes of telling her story to others. But for her, there was a time that she didn’t think she would be receiving the diploma she did Friday night, let alone pursuing another one in four years. “If it weren’t for The Crossing, I wouldn’t be graduating, and maybe not alive” Chupp said.]]>