When 18-year-old Androu Zorabians graduated with his high school diploma on Tuesday afternoon, he accomplished something he thought was out of reach just a couple years ago.
Once a student at Hoover High, Zorabians faltered in the 10th and 11th grades, which led him to enroll at Daily High School to recover classes and get back on the path to earn a diploma.
"To be honest, I never thought I would make it, because I messed up really bad...I just never thought I would graduate high school."
But Zorabians, who plans to begin college in the winter on a path toward a law degree, was able to make up lost credits through Daily High's Re-ConnectEd program.
A second alternative program — Verdugo Academy — allows students to take classes at their own pace.
Fellow student Ivonne Segovia, who began her high school career at Hoover High, was proud she could recover credits at Daily in time to graduate this spring, instead of having to take more classes during the summer.
"They were more on top of me and my work," she said of the educators at Daily. "They teach you how to be more responsible and more persistent."
Segovia plans to become a high school math teacher and pursue cosmetology on the side.
"I know it makes my mom happy," she said. "So that's what makes me happy the most. I didn't think I would make it on time, so it does mean a lot to me."
Dolomon Hearring, who plans to pursue a career in music production, questioned his capability to earn his high school degree, especially after he found himself having a difficult time focusing.
"Now that I finished it, it shows me that I got through it," he said.
Rebeca Guerrero, in her commencement speech, told her class of 2014 that high school was a struggle for her in the beginning.
"I didn't know how important high school really is," she said, and when the time came for her to enroll at Daily High, she thought it was the "end of the road."
"The staff, however, made me feel it was the exact opposite," Guerrero said. "It gives people who have made mistakes in the past like me…a second chance to really strive for something great."
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.