Forty-two teenage men and women, all wearing camouflage Army uniforms, standing in columns with their platoons, as the American flag is being raised. Many of their uniforms displayed metals for outstanding performance. All of them proud of what they represented - the Alder Grove Academy.
They came from most of Placer County's high schools, court and community schools and junior high. Even though they each had their own story, they were either arrested and placed on probation and/or suspended or expelled and sent to the Academy as their last shot at turning their lives around. Most of these at-risk students hated school and their truancy had resulting in credit deficiencies. Others had rebelled against authority figures at their school. Some had alcohol and drug use problems that further their downward spiral.
At the Alder Grove Academy they would come face to face with a retired police sergeant who prided himself as an "Old School" teacher. They would be entering a school that operated on order, structure and discipline. There were no victims in the Academy. For many, this would be the hardest academic and physical school they had ever attended. In partnership with the U.S. Army, they would slowly become a family learning that their choices from here on out, depended on whether they had reached rock bottom and sincerely wanted to change.
They offer their stories in hopes of turning at least one at-risk students around like they did.