OGDEN -- Haylee Sorenson, London Bateman and Skye Reynolds weren't too sure where they fit in a traditional high school setting. All three attended high schools in Weber School District, but were short on credits and felt a little lost in the shuffle.
When they heard about Two Rivers High School, the Weber School District's alternative high school, they decided to give it a try.
"People say it's a school for losers and druggies, but they are wrong," Reynolds said. All three have earned their credits and will officially graduate May 23.
Bateman is attending Ogden/Weber Applied Technology College studying composites and plans to get hired at Hill Air Force Base when he completes the course later this year. Reynolds earned her Certified Nursing Assistant certificate earlier this year and is currently working at an assisted living center. Sorenson is working at earning her CNA through OWATC and works at a daycare center. Sorenson is the first person in her family to graduate from high school.
She plans to go to college to become an X-ray technician. She said her mom is very proud of her accomplishments, and Sorenson spends a lot of time working with her older siblings and mom on going back to school to get their GEDs.
"I tell them I can help them -- they can do it," she said.
These students all feel that the personal help and one-on-one time they received from counselors and teachers at the school has helped them to reach their goals.
Two Rivers Principal Jeff Marchant said the school is set up to help the students succeed. That's why that extra one-on-one help is part of the program.
"These students all have a story, and many of them have not had it easy," Marchant said.
He remembers that when he first started at the school he was struggling, and another teacher, Pam Lee, told him, "It's impossible to hate someone whose story you know." He has lived by that. He gets to know his students' stories and encourages his teachers and staff to do the same.
He knows it is vital to help the students find something they are good at, and then the rest of it can come together.
He showed a 3-D art piece that senior Seth Batz created out of old pages of books. These pieces have become very popular, and Seth is making money from his artwork. Since his first creation he has earned straight A's and will now graduate.
"Coming here was the best decision of my life," Reynolds said.
She has had the chance to eat lunch with "walking history" as she puts it, as she has earned lunches and dinners with authors and historians through her English class.
"People say you can't succeed if you come here," she said, "but we are proof that you can, and I known lots of other people that have."
Sorenson sees that being at Two Rivers has given her opportunities she never would have known at her regular high school, because her Two Rivers counselor encouraged her to try new things.
All three students emphasize the importance of not judging a book by its cover. Reynolds said:
"We have brilliant people who go there, and you would never know by just looking at them. They are amazing."