Metro-Meridian graduate: ‘school saved our lives’

Metro Meridian High School. (Photo: KSN file photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Metro-Meridian Alternative High School in Wichita held its last graduation ceremony on Monday night.

The ceremony came on the heels of the Wichita school district’s vote to shut down the school due to budget cuts.

With their heads held high and their graduation caps on proudly, the seniors at Metro-Meridian Alternative High School remembered the good times, the bad times and how they got through all of the times together.

“They left that mark on my life, they are family,” said Senior Jailene Perez. “We are here to take a step out of high school and into the real world.”

Perez, 17, said she once feared the real world.

“Well, I was thinking negative thoughts. I didn’t really want to go to school,” she said.

Perez almost dropped out of high school after getting pregnant in 2015. She was 16-years-old at the time.

“I look back and it’s hard to believe I was in those dark times,” Perez said.

The new mom credits the students and staff at Metro-Meridian for her accomplishments.

“I honestly think Metro-Meridian is what saved me and what made it possible for me to be here today,” she said.

Perez and her classmates will be the last students to feel that impact. The district voted to close Metro-Meridian last week in an effort to save nearly $18 million.

Students at the high school protested the possible shut down a few-weeks ago. They stood outside, holding posters and shouting ‘Save our school.’

“It sucks that that didn’t work, you know, and we can’t do much about it,” Perez said.

The Wichita school board voted to eliminate more than 100 district positions, close Metro-Meridian Alternative High School and end bus transportation for thousands of students, along with other cuts that will trim about $18 million from the district’s budget.

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