SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A youth focused program gave a group students something special to cheer about, completion of their GED.
"It feels amazing I'm so proud of myself and my peers as well," said graduate Shalanda Murray.
Murray is one of the 40 graduates who took part in the education and job training program called Youth Build. She says her first try at the program didn't go as planned but determination motivated her to give it another shot.
"It feels amazing I'm so proud of myself and my peers as well,” said Murray. “Not even the dirt that they had me crawls through for the physical challenge deterred me from finishing the program.”
During the nine month course students partake in vigorous field exercises and learn to build homes in their community from the ground up.
"Everything we do is to challenge you and your beliefs about yourself,” said SEAT Center Executive Director Jennifer Lawrence. “It's not made to exclude you but to include you and build you confidence".
The degree gives some a second chance to build a better future not just for themselves but for the people who matter most.
"When I was in high school I dropped out I didn't care too much for it and then when I had kids I noticed I had to better myself for them and not even me," said Nasia Bonds, who also graduated.
As for Shalanda she now has internship in the Rivers Casino Human Resources Department. The center says that’s just one example of the programs many benefits.
"Our students are not only graduating with degrees or credentials they also graduate with job placement and college admissions" the executive director said.
Students said no matter what level they began at they all walked away with a sense of completion.