15 students graduated from Marion County’s 10th Phoenix Rising YouthBuild program

Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 5:44 PM EST
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All of their hard work finally paid off.

15 students became graduates of an alternative education program that has been teaching students in Ocala since 2011.

The graduation ceremony was held at the College of Central Florida at the Webber Center in Ocala located at 3001 SW College Rd. on Tuesday.

The students who graduated were: Dazreashia “Daz” Coleman, Jakeem McQueen, Jakira Walker, John Gaulke, Korey Dubois, Milena Hovis, Noah Cloud, Rakim Daughn, Robert Thomas, Tarvis Taylor Jr., Tyrese Benton, Wender Mora Peguero, William “Michael” Thomas, Winter Hovis and Zachary Wright.

The 20- week alternative education program called Phoenix Rising YouthBuild teaches students in the classroom and also provides hands-on instruction that leads to employment in in-demand careers or enrollment in post-secondary education.

“When I first came I didn’t have my diploma,” said Wender Mora, one of the graduates for the ceremony. “I didn’t even think I was going to get picked but I did and now I’m successful and they're sending me in the right steps to be successful."

Students were trained in vocational work such as carpentry, home construction, and electrical engineering.

“Altogether, I really enjoyed the program,” Mora said. “It was worth it. I really wished people will take advantage of it."

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded 67 grants across 28 states to support and expand YouthBuild programs.

The youth build program that covers Citrus, Levy, and Marion County has received its third federally funded grant that was $740,737.