Thirty-five seniors received their diplomas Aug. 13 during South-Western City School District's summer graduation ceremony.
In some cases, the students attended summer school to make up the credit deficiencies that kept them from graduating last spring.
In others, students completed a two-week training session to prepare them another shot at one or more sections of the Ohio Graduation Test they had yet to pass.
Summer school sessions are held four hours a day for 16 days, said Erik Shuey, the district's executive director of secondary learning and athletics.
"Each course lasts for two hours a day, so students can take up to two courses over the summer," he said.
The district's summer school program is open to any high school student, Shuey said. A program for middle school students is also held each year.
Students must pay a fee to attend the program, although the district covers the cost for seniors, he said. Because a fee is involved, students are not required to take summer school courses.
The type and number of courses that are offered each summer vary depending on the needs of the students signing up for the program, Shuey said.
Sections of the OGT can stall diplomas for more than one year.
"Often, the students who still need to pass a section or two on the OGT to graduate have otherwise earned all the credits they need," Shuey said.
"We have some students who finished school two years ago and still need to pass the OGT," he said.
The summer graduation is a more intimate version of the commencement ceremonies the high schools hold each May.
"The summer students get a cap and gown, we have a commencement speaker and they are presented their diplomas," Shuey said. "They get to turn their tassel over and throw their caps in the air. The school board members and superintendent attend."
In many ways, the ceremony is even more special than the regular graduation events, he said.
"I really look forward every year to the summer graduation," Shuey said. "These students have shown a determination and a willingness to overcome obstacles that will serve them well in their life."
Not every student opts to attend the ceremony, but those who do seem to be particularly proud of their accomplishment, he said.
"The parents are so proud, too," Shuey said.
The district does not wait until summer to assist students who are behind in the credits they need for graduation, he said.
"Every one of our high schools offer some sort of credit remediation during the school year," Shuey said..
Students can take courses through an alternative nigh school or through an online program, he said. Students also can take part in remediation courses during the school day while maintaining their regular class schedule.