As a young mother, Avi-Asha Day knows she has to work hard to get a good job to provide for her daughter.
The first step to achieving her goal of continuing her education and someday becoming a probation officer was to receive a high school diploma.
Day accomplished that goal Wednesday night when she and was one of 32 students to graduate from the York Adams Academy during its winter commencement ceremony.
"This school gives us hope when all we wanted to do was give up," she told an audience of family and friends.
The 18-year-old also had a few words for her fellow graduates.
"This is just the beginning. We did it," she told the students wearing blue gowns and mortarboards.
Never gave up: Housed at the York Learning Center in North York, the academy is an alternative school for students from York and Adams counties who dropped out of high school for any reason and then decided they wanted to finish their high school education.
Prior to Wednesday, 3,273 students have graduated from the school since its inception in 1990, said its director, David Detzel.
Aniamonie Walker said she's glad she is adding to the number of graduates.
"I'm really proud that I never gave up believing in myself," she said.
Just before students tossed their caps in the air, Robert Krantz, the superintendent of record and superintendent of Dover Area School District gave them some parting words of advice.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, he said, but when students cross that fence, they should be prepared give their all.
"When crossing over a fence, carry water with you and tend grass wherever you may be," Krantz said.
January 2013 York Adams Academy graduates: Johhana M. Castillo, Travis W. Chinery, Rebecca M. Crotty, Avi-Asha A. Day, Aaron T. Dubbs, Samuel B. Ferro, Karlee R. Ginter, Jaleel M. Hopkins, Jared W. Ivey, Wade L. Johnson, Blake C. Keiser, Cyndi J. Klinedinst, Andrew D. Kreeger, Tyler L. Krug, Erin M. LeMaire, Bryan D. McCoy, Brandi A. McKinney, Shay C. Miller, Shawni M. Mitzel, Luis A. Moya, Yeraldin Mueses, Stephen C. Nelson, Dustin E. Newcomb, Jared M. Prestopine, Dakota W. Rosenzweig, Nicholas D. Rutledge, Desiree S. Shenberger, Malachi Smith, Justin R. Tubbs, Aniamonie N. Walker, Rashawn A. Woodard, Mitchell G. Yoder - Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.