Graduation at PEP: An Extraordinary Milestone

A caregiver hugs a graduate at graduation at PEP

2024 Graduation at PEP

PEP is proud to announce that this year we have 20 high school seniors graduating and 24 students reintegrating to their home district. We celebrate their accomplishments and recognize the family, staff and community who helped them along the way. We are so proud of all of them and look forward to seeing where they will go in the future.

An Extraordinary Milestone

Graduation for anyone is an impressive achievement. It symbolizes years of hard work, dedication and perseverance. During many graduation ceremonies, speakers acknowledge that it is not only a student’s efforts that went into achieving this milestone, it is the support of the community around them, from teachers and school staff to family and mentors. Imagine now how that moment feels for the young people and families who have faced overwhelming challenges along the way – challenges that threatened to derail them again and again. At PEP, many of our students face these types of challenges. Challenges like mental health disorders, unstable family environments or trauma can make it hard for them to show up at school day after day. They can make it hard to focus on learning. That’s why graduation at PEP is so special.

June marks the time when each PEP Day Treatment Center holds a graduation ceremony. These ceremonies recognize two types of graduates. The first are the students who will transition back to public school in the fall. These students initially came to PEP because their educational and/or social emotional needs were too severe for them to remain in a public school setting. At PEP these students learn to adapt and overcome their challenges so that they are able to return to a mainstream setting. The second group of graduates are the type of graduates we typically think of this time of year: Those finishing 12th grade.

Each ceremony takes time to recognize the accomplishments of both types of graduates. During each event, there is a sense that this moment is extraordinary. So often you hear family, teachers and even students themselves in a state of almost-disbelief over such a remarkable accomplishment. On some level, they didn’t believe they could do it. When a young person’s life is filled with so much turmoil, that upheaval spreads to the family. It can be a daily struggle and it can be hard to envision a positive future. To watch a young person who has faced such overwhelming challenges cross the stage and get a diploma or a reintegration certificate is a moment of overwhelming joy. It not only signifies the the work that has preceded the achievement, it also symbolizes that this young person’s future is full of potential – and that is truly extraordinary.

Learn More

For more information about PEP, visit our website. Contact Nicole Molnar, sr. director, clinical services at 216-361-7760 ext. 110 or via email to see if a student in your district may be a good fit for Positive Education Program.

Please note, referrals to PEP’s Day Treatment Centers are made through school districts in consultation with parents. Interested parents or caregivers should contact their school administrator.