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Violence Prevention Program Helps 86 Graduates Receive Their High School Diplomas.

Hundreds of students have been able to graduate thanks to CRED.

Many students in the Chicago CRED program didn’t think they’d ever see their high school diplomas. This organization works with communities that are most likely to be affected by gun violence, and some participants in the program are survivors themselves. With help from CRED, 86 graduates received their diplomas on Thursday. The drive-through ceremony took place in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago.

Graduates were dropped off by loved ones at a red carpet, where they were photographed in their caps and gowns. 27-year-old Leneaha Gist was especially grateful to be receiving her diploma, after being shot 11 times this year.

Leneaha finally gets to graduate high school at 27.
Screengrab from CBS Chicago/YouTube

“I was just sitting in the car, like at the wrong place wrong time. My whole left side,” said Leneaha, according to CBS News Chicago. “I wasn’t really planning on going back to school, but this program helped me do everything I needed to do.”

Speaking with WGN 9, the graduate also said, “I was like depressed, PTSD, going through a lot and the program helped me come out that shell. They helped me get my diploma and I’m going to college.”

Hundreds of students have been able to graduate thanks to CRED.
Screengrab from CBS Chicago/YouTube

Sadly, not everyone who earned their high school diploma was able to attend the ceremony. Students Ronnie Roper and Willie Stokes were victims of gun violence this year, and both lost their lives before they were able to celebrate their success. Sylvia Anderson, Willie’s aunt, was among the family members who accepted the honor in his place.

“He told me ‘Titi, I’m going to get my diploma’ and he did it, but the hard part is he isn’t here to receive it,” she said.

Some families were grieving the loss of their graduates.
Screengrab from CBS Chicago/YouTube

Ronail Carter, 21, says that the program went above and beyond to make sure that he was able to finish his high school education.

“Our teacher, Ms. Stewart, she took her time to help us on weekends and overnight and everything,” he said. “She was always there.”

CBS News Chicago reports that over 300 students have been able to graduate high school because of CRED.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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