PLAINFIELD, NJ – For some students in Plainfield High's 2019 summer program, completing the requirements for their high school diploma was a major achievement as that also meant overcoming challenges that they said were holding them back from reaching their goals.

At Tuesday’s commencement, class representative, Princess Givens revealed to the audience of family and friends that she used to cry every day before the start of school and was reluctant to go.

But because she was given the opportunity to work with a little girl with Autism and helped develop her speaking skills, Givens said it led to her setting a goal of finishing high school and wanting to become a special needs teacher.

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"Finally,” she said, “I am excited for my future because my future is bright.”

"Be proud of what you have accomplished and have faith in how far you will go forward,” Plainfield Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Diana Mitchell encouraged the group of 25 graduates as she certified that they had completed the requirements to receive their high school diploma.

“Surround yourself only with people who will uplift you, they will take you higher,” Mitchell continued, calling them ‘champions’.

In order to graduate, “students completed over sixty hours of instruction and took courses in core subjects based on their individual portfolios,” said Denise Shipman, Director of Guidance in a news release.  "The students took courses in Algebra, English, History, Physical Education, mandated elective courses in Financial Literacy and Wellness, as well as other courses."

At the end of the ceremony, Benjamin Cunningham also said graduating was a milestone that he worked hard to earn. "It was a struggle these past four years,” he said, “but I did it and I am glad to be here."