Video: COMMUNITY | Inner City High Grad
Graduation: It's a day most students experience, but for a group of graduates from Inner City High School, it's a day that means so much more.
"The things that these kids have gone through to come here, and then to even get through the door is remarkable," explained Inner City High Principal Joe Cloutier. "You can't imagine what it's like having no bus tickets, no support, some people go home without a permanent place to live, and somehow they make it through these doors."
Six delighted students make up the class of 2017 at Inner City High School. For these students, graduation day seemed more like a fantasy than a reality.
"I just called one day and explained no [other school] would take me," shared Inner City High graduate Angelita Michos. "It's really cool, it's really exciting! This school's done a lot for me - I have a great support system here so it kind of sucks to go, but this is the beginning of a new chapter for me!"
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On average eight to 10 graduates come out of Inner City High every June with the majority of graduates applying to post-secondary education - many who go on to become social workers.
"Most often it's not 'I want a new car, I want this or that,' it's 'I want to help other people who are in a similar situation'," added Principal Cloutier.
Inner City High School is a senior academic and arts based facility that helps marginalized youth achieve their full potential and reach their goal of a high school diploma. It's accredited by Alberta Education and supported by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF).
"Our Oilers Foundation is thrilled to provide scholarship dollars to help students pursue their post-secondary education," said EOCF Executive Director Natalie Minckler.
In December 2010, the EOCF purchased and renovated a building downtown for Inner City High to move into and call home. Since the school relocated from the Boyle Street Community League in January 2011, registration has increased and Inner City High School is close to maximum capacity.
"We would not be here and many of the great things that are happening to [our students] wouldn't be happening without the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation - we really appreciate their support," said Cloutier.
For the Class of 2017, life is looking much brighter than it has in a long time and they now feel that they can conquer anything.
"It feels great! Never give up, never lose hope and keep pursuing your dreams," said Inner City High graduate Glenvil Williams.
"It's not all smiles throughout the year as you can imagine, but it's just great to see how proud they are of their accomplishments, it makes it all worthwhile," added Principal Cloutier.
For more information on Inner City High School and other life-changing initiiatives supported by the EOCF in the community, please visit OilersFoundation.ca.