LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Jaythan Thatch almost didn’t graduate high school.
After dropping out of Tanner High, he found the Ombudsman Limestone program.
Ombudsman was established in the county in 2009 providing alternative education programs for high school students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out.
“Each student has a different circumstance, a different story, a different reason why they need to come to Ombudsman and we’re glad to be able to help them,” said Ombudsman Director Heather Brown.
Thatch was one of 44 seniors from six different Limestone County high schools who received their diplomas at the ceremony at Athens State Tuesday night.
“I had to do this for myself,” said Thatch. “I quit school and it was a great program for me. The teachers, they really helped me out a lot. I really appreciate it.”
He says if it weren’t for this program, he knows he would be in jail.
“They really helped me out, me and my family and my life,” said Thatch.
“He’s really special to us and we’re glad that he was able to come back because that says a lot about him,” said Brown. “He didn’t care if it was embarrassing and he didn’t care if it was hard. He said I’ve got to do this and he did it.”
Now Thatch walks away with his diploma and one of life’s most valuable lessons.
“I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” said Thatch. “I can do anything.”
He plans to go to Calhoun Community College in the fall and study industrial maintenance.
Eighty-four percent of all Ombudsman students graduate, return to their school closer to grade level or complete the academic year.