Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Porcupine Academy graduates 8 students in inaugural class

Commencement ceremony took place March 25


SPRINGTOWN — Eight students recently graduated from the newly created Porcupine Academy.

Springtown Independent School District created Porcupine Academy last year to help students who are at risk of not graduating earn diplomas. The academy offers a flexible and self-paced program to accommodate students’ individual needs while they work on achieving a high school education.

The first graduating class of Porcupine Academy includes Nico Bonfiglio, Landen Earle, Breckin Norris, Gracie Roberts, Skylar Hewitt, Savanna Bandy, Angelina Ray and Katrina Ray. Six of these students attended the March 25 graduation ceremony.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting us with the opportunity to show what you can do,” Porcupine Academy Principal Andrew Horis said to graduates during the ceremony. “I will remember the fact that you six are here tonight probably for as long as I live because, again, to be the first graduating class of a new campus is a very unique thing.”

Horis commended the graduates who “really put the work in to try and better themselves for their current self and their future self.” He noted that because the academy is new, adjustments to the program may be needed in the future, and the experiences that the first class of graduating students had may not be the same as the ones to come.

“Things have a habit of changing. If we find out something doesn't work or there's something that we can do better, I don't hesitate. I make that change if it’s what's best for kids,” Horis said. “You (graduates) got through not necessarily because you had someone holding your hand the whole time but because you had the gumption to try it. And I really admire that.”

Horis thanked several groups of people that aided the academy — the school board, SISD administrators, Porcupine Academy staff as well as parents and families.

“We were pumped to offer this innovative opportunity to students in our community and even more excited that it has been such a success under the lead of Porcupine Academy Principal Mr. Horis,” SISD Superintendent Shane Strickland said in a statement. “Principal Horis and his staff provide a supportive environment where students can earn their high school diploma at their own pace. Congratulations to the graduating Porcupine Academy students!”