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 Seven Graduate from North County Academy

A large group of supporters—including parents, teachers, counselors and classmates—celebrated the perseverance and hard work at a graduation ceremony Friday at North County Academy for the seven students receiving their diplomas this year.

The event was a cheerful one with the usual “Pomp and Circumstance” march, academic awards, a tassel ceremony and inspiring words from educators at the school.

“This is a big, huge deal today,” Principal Jamie Dayhoff said. “These students have done a lot of work and have overcome a lot more than your average student.”

North County Academy serves students in grades 5 through 12 with significant mental health needs. The 11-classroom campus is run by the San Diego County Office of Education for the 14 school districts in the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education​ along with Poway Unified School District.

It was the second graduation for the Carlsbad campus, which opened in 2012. Although seven students got diplomas, only three were able to attend the ceremony.

The number of graduates is lower than at most schools because many students transition back to their home districts by the time they’re in 12th grade.

This year, there were about 80 students attending the school, which serves students who require more intensive services than their home school districts are able to provide. Most of the classes have a teacher, two aides, and eight to 10 students.

The campus was designed to meet students' academic and therapeutic needs. San Diego Center for Children provides therapeutic services for students.