Alternative school graduates beat the odds and their own expectations

Posted at 8:43 AM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 08:43:30-04

FLORENCE, Ky. -- Noah Ruppee graduated from high school Tuesday night -- but he admits he never thought he would accomplish.

"I didn't see myself ever doing this to be honest," Ruppee said.

Ruppee had only two high school credits when he arrived at Boone County's Imagineering Academy, an alternative school.

Things turned around quickly.

"In the first six months, I got 17 credits with straight A's," he said.

He also found a passion in construction -- his current project is building playhouses, one for a disabled girl. He even got a full-time job in the field.

"I learned that I can help others and feel emotion off of it," Ruppee said. "I get something out of seeing other people happy."

The Imagineering Academy said it strives to "kill the doubt," not "kill the dream."

Ruppee's not the only success story from this year's graduating class: Brandon Judie found a network of support at Imagineering Academy after his father died.

"I was having so many problems, you know, I was honestly contemplating dropping out," Judie said.

Now, Judie is on track to go to college. He became interested in surgery while at Imagineering Academy; he even helped doctors develop a way to keep laparoscopic surgical lenses clear.

"I learned a lot going to meetings with doctors," Judie said. "I gained speaking skills out of it."

To learn more, watch the video in the player above.