Second chance at diploma
Published 5:03 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019
WEST POINT — Princeton High School International, a 501(c)3 religious institution, is designed to give every person a second chance to earn a high school diploma.
It now has a learning center at Bethlehem Baptist Church in West Point. A graduation ceremony was held at the church in May in which eight local young people received high school diplomas and another one will be taking place before the end of the year.
“Kids can graduate at any time, so they can go on with their careers,” said Princeton Chancellor Dr. Roderick Williams. “I, or another staff member, can meet with them to see where they are and get them the assistance they need. Our staff members have degrees in either education or religion. We are helped kids in juvenile programs, but we’re not just for those who have been in trouble. Some kids want to graduate early, and they can do that with us.”
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PHSI also helps young people qualify for the military, have an opportunity to go to college or to enter the workforce. PHSI can assist them in preparing for the ACT/SAT or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, commonly known as the ASVAB. Williams said the program can empower students to discover their strengths and interests while mapping out their postsecondary and career choice plans that will work for them.
“Princeton is a great place to be for students from all walks of life,” he said. “Some of our local graduates have been hired on at Kia and some have been promoted on their jobs. We’ve had husbands and wives graduate together. We recently had a mother and daughter graduate together. We are nationwide and recognized in more than 60 countries. In 2016, our bible college received an award in Dubai.”
PHSI is accredited by the National Association of Private Schools and the Global Evangelical Accrediting Commission. According to its website, the purpose of Princeton High School International “is to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and follow his examples in his Holy Bible by giving every person an opportunity to graduate with a high school diploma and Christian leadership skills to compete in a global world.”
“Interest in what we are doing is picking up,” Williams said. “Accreditation helps. Principals are calling us to see if we can help in certain situations. Our graduates are being accepted into community colleges and four-year schools.”
Much of the education is being done online. Learning centers, such as the one at Bethlehem Baptist and other ones in Alexander City and Roanoke, host registration, orientation and graduation ceremonies.
“We send welcome letters once someone comes on board,” Williams said. “Our teachers have certification in Georgia and Alabama. Many of them have advanced degrees. Our bible college has been around for more than 60 years. We have a very diverse student base.”
“Adults of all ages can earn a high school diploma with us,” Williams said. “They can earn it 100 percent online, if they like, and earn 32 credits for college prep work. We partner with the military through CEP programs at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery and Fort McPherson in Atlanta. Our military program will test students in the 16 to 34 age group.”
Dr. Williams is the chancellor, Reginald Clifton the vice chancellor and William Steele the administrative consultant and academic advisor for the Alabama-Georgia area of Princeton High School International.
In addition to the learning centers in West Point, Alexander City and Roanoke, there’s a big learning center in Gardendale with 12 member churches.
“We are a Christian organization,” Williams said. “Our national office is in Washington, D.C. We have students from as far away as Saudi Arabia. We have lots of success stories. We have taken kids who were on juvenile probation, got them into our program, they’ve graduated and are now doing well in the 21st-century workplace. We have turned lives around, and that’s what we are all about.”