The cap, gown, flowers, and diploma were all proof that Ashley Gutt got the last laugh.
"When I dropped out of high school, (people) said I would be a bum and I wouldn't (succeed)," said Ashley, 17, of Red Lion. "I proved them wrong. I graduated, so ha!"
Ashley and 122 other students received their high school diplomas during York Adams Academy's spring graduation ceremony Wednesday at 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.
Ashley, who was a student in the Red Lion Area School District, said she wants to be a nurse and will soon get started on working toward that goal.
During graduation, Ashley and fellow graduating students heard from four of their classmates who were chosen by teachers to give speeches at the ceremony.
Kayla Brillhart, from South Western School District, said regular high school wasn't for her and she wasn't doing well in her classes. She said she thought about dropping out until a school counselor told her about York Adams Academy.
She said she had an easier time learning because the classes were fun, the teachers fought for her and she "wasn't put down for not knowing things."
Robert Strickhouser, from West York Area School District, said the academy's flexible schedule allowed him to work while going to school and to work at his own pace.
DynPrincess Perez, who was in Central York School District, said she got caught up in the drama of high school and got behind in her classes. She said the academy helped her change to become a successful student. Like Ashley, DynPrincess said she plans to be a nurse.
Nicholas Crone, of Red Lion Area School District, said he hates to give speeches but has learned from the academy not to waste opportunities.
"I'm here now to be someone great in the years to come," he said.
York Adams Academy Class of 2012
Number of graduates: 123
Graduation ceremony held: June 13 at York Learning Center in North York
Speakers: Academy director David Detzel, teacher Barbara Arvin, Dover Area School District superintendent Robert Krantz, academy board president Terry Emig, and students Kayla Brillhart, Robert Strickhouser, DynPrincess Perez and Nicholas Crone.
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.