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Cossatot River Student is Recipient of AAE Diamond Award


Victoria Needham, a senior at Cossatot River High School, received the Arkansas Alternative Education Diamond Award Thursday, February 9, 2017 at the Capitol in Little Rock. The Diamond Award was presented to a select thirteen students in the state for diligence, perseverance, sensitivity, and resiliency. She traveled to the capitol with Principal Dewayne Taylor, teacher Kim Meeks, Virtual Arkansas facilitator Robbie Bagley, and fellow student Jacob Youngblood. The Cossatot River group was given a personal tour of the treasury by State Treasurer Dennis Milligan. They also attended a session of the State Senate.

Victoria entered Alternative Education in 2015 due to pregnancy, absenteeism, failing grades in Algebra II, and the risk of dropping out of school. She ended the 2015-2016 school year with darling baby boy, Ryland, excellent grades, and A’s in Algebra II and Pre-calculus. While on maternity leave, Victoria attended math classes every day at CRHS via Zoom through a school issued iPad. Her other classes were through Virtual Arkansas. In fall of 2016, Victoria passed the CLEP test for College Algebra, a very difficult test for a very difficult class. By testing out of College Algebra, Victoria had a free class period to be a teacher assistant during which she taught other students in credit recovery Algebra.

This year, Victoria is earning 21 additional college hours by taking concurrent credit and online college classes: Composition I and II, American History I and II, College Trigonometry, Chemistry I, and Spanish I. Because she aspires to attend veterinary school, Victoria has focused on medically related electives through Virtual Arkansas.  She plans to attend SAU in Magnolia in the fall.

The current Alternative Education program is due in large part to former Principal LaDonna White who promoted AE and helped make Victoria’s success possible. With continuing support and encouragement from Principal Dewayne Taylor and Assistant Principal Mickey Ford, Counselors Gina Rosson and Jill Hunter, Alternative Education at Cossatot River High School is a forward thinking program that assists students in achieving their goals for the future.

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