Bastrop High School JAG Students taking the future into their own hands

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BASTROP, La. (KNOE) Bastrop High School students overcome the odds by staying in school and graduating. They attribute part of their success to a longstanding program that helps them get there. The students became part of the JAG Program.

"It installs the officers and initiates the rest of the JAG members or "Jobs for American Graduates," said Cynthia Peoples, the Bastrop High School JAG Specialist.

It's a dropout prevention and recovery program helping students stay in school and on track to graduation.

"Last year we had 17 seniors, and out of the 17 seniors, all 17 seniors completed their FAFSA which is a requirement of JAG and Bastrop High School," Peoples said.

JAG also instills civic responsibility, leadership, development, and social awareness in each of its members.

"Before I got in JAG, I used to have a bad attitude. I used to just like bad, and when I got in JAG it helped me change my attitude, and JAG has helped me get a job," said Cortazja Perry, a Bastrop High School JAG Member.

"At the time I had bad grades, and I didn't like anybody so whenever I got in JAG, it taught me how to accept other people's personalities and differences," said James Waltman, another JAG member.

Wednesday night was a moment of pride for each student as they got certificates showing their official membership.

Bastrop Mayor Henry Cotton even touted each students' accomplishments.

He said, "I believe in every one of you. You are dynamic. When I was walking through the building as you were lining up, I could barely hold back tears of joy."

"It's beautiful to watch them grow and then to watch them leave. It's like having my own kids and watching them grow up," said Peoples.

The JAG Program keeps track of each student for a year after graduation going into college.

Peoples says she even has ten students she's following, and they're doing well.