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More than math, it's lessons in life

By STEVE THOMPSON
Published May 22, 2005


NEW PORT RICHEY - The end of an era for Kim Delaney loomed half an hour away, and she thirsted for a Pepsi.

She asked Dad for a dollar.

"A dollar?" he asked, video camera in hand. "You're hitting me up for money and you haven't even gotten to college yet."

But he reached in his pocket to pull out a crinkled bill for his third and youngest daughter.

"It's been a tough road," he said after she headed for the vending machine. "But we made it. I'm proud of her."

Kim was one of 23 students celebrated in Richard Milburn Academy's third graduating class Friday.

Friends and parents packed the small school's auditorium for the ceremony. The sound system wasn't working, so those with speeches spoke loudly.

Sara Golden, senior class president, talked of what they were leaving behind.

"High school is more than reading, writing and arithmetic," she said. "It's learning to grow up and mature. It's having your first love and your first heartbreak."

Valedictorian Josh Avera extolled the tenets of tae kwon do to his peers: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.

"The Bible says you reap what you sow," he said. "That's true. You get out what you put in.

The academy provides an alternative to students who have not been successful in traditional public high schools. The formula worked for Kim Delaney. After moving from New Jersey two years ago, she started at Gulf High School but found herself overwhelmed. After a month, she switched to Milburn.

Kim looks forward to attending Florida Gulf Coast University to study psychology.

"I had a lot of issues growing up," she said. "And I think it would be good to help others going through the same things."

[Last modified May 22, 2005, 01:07:21]


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