14 high schoolers graduate from night classes

Jun 14, 2023

For the vast majority of Jaydan Tirado’s classmates, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catastrophe.

For her, it was “sweet relief.”

When she started eighth grade at Wareham High School, Tirado had such severe anxiety that she used to fight with her mom to not have to go to school each day. 

The pandemic offered a break from that anxiety, but at the start of her junior year, it was time to go back to in-person learning. 

Unable to cope with the demands of full-time schooling, Tirado joined the Wareham Cooperative Alternative PASS (Pathways to Academic Student Success) program, an alternative form of schooling where students attend two-and-a-half-hour night classes three times a week. 

Tirado spoke to seven of her classmates at the program’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday, June 14. Fourteen students graduated from the program, but only eight accepted their diplomas in person.

“It was paradise for me,” Tirado said in her speech. “This alternative program allowed me to feel relaxed, and I could easily walk through the classroom doors to continue my high school education.”’

She is currently working at Shaw’s, but plans to go to community college to study cosmetology.

PASS students learn the same curriculum as their peers in day school, but with smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time with teachers. Only one subject is taught per day. 

“It makes it much easier for us to manage our personal lives and actually have a decent sleep schedule,” said graduate Shayleen Duckworth, who plans to get a job in an animal shelter or veterinary office before going to school to become a vet tech. 

Her boyfriend Jason Schuster is also in the program, but has a year until he graduates. 

“The teachers treat me like an adult,” he said of night school, “while in [day] school they treat me like a kid... The atmosphere helps people a lot, especially if they have anxiety.” 

“There is a lot of flexibility and they really communicate with their teachers,” said PASS Principal Jane Fondulis.

When she saw her son Sebastian Via-Kashner receive his diploma, Chenoa Via cried.

“It’s been a long five years,” she said. “I’m very grateful that he didn’t drop out, and that this worked for him.”

Via-Kashner worked in Ted Gaglio’s carpentry shop during the day, and attended PASS classes at night. 

“He’s a hard worker,” said Gaglio, who attended the ceremony. “He pays attention to what is asked of him and he gets it done. He’s a great kid, and I hope he works for me for many years to come. I couldn’t be prouder.” 

Tirado concluded her speech by saying: “I cannot believe I am reading this today, and through all of the trials and tribulations, a phoenix is rising from the ashes, and that phoenix is me.” 

The other PASS graduates were Madison Ryan Costa, Aiden Enright, Tyler Daniel Goldman, Richard Dennis McCarthy, Margeaux Patricia Monteiro, Skyla Alexis Murphy, Journey Pells, Ava Jane Perez, Charles Rae Phillips, Ava Jaye St. Germaine and Abigail Ulianelli Young.