Student Set to Graduate High School After a Long Journey

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 04/28 2014 02:48PM

Updated 04/29 2014 07:42AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Like many kids this time of year, Bob Bierschenk will walk across a stage to accept his diploma. But Bob's journey to complete school is not an ordinary one.

"I never thought I'd ever graduate," said Bierschenk.

Bob began his high school career with his friends by attending Benton High School, kind of.

"He rarely went to Benton High School," said John Schlange, an administrator at the Webster Learning Center.

A self-described class clown, he skipped school constantly.

"Students go to school for a variety of reasons and social is part of it," said Schlange. "When Bob was younger, he went because he was all that, he was the leader of the classroom. As he continued on in school and there wasn't success every day, he had to [skip]."

So Bob decided dropping out may be his best option.

"I thought about just being done with it over there and not finishing school at all," Bob said. "I couldn't find a job. Nobody wants to hire somebody that doesn't [have] a diploma."

And this realization, along with some support from his mom, was the turning point in his education. Bob transferred to the Webster Learning Center in St. Joseph, a place he fell in love with.

"They changed my life and I'm going to accomplish things in my life that I couldn't have had without a high school diploma," Bob said.

"We are a smaller setting with more individualized attention and try to give students a feeling of belonging so they want to come to school here," Schlange said. "I believe in second, third and fourth chances."

Bob now has over a 90 percent attendance record, and will graduate with practically straight A's. His story was so unique that in February, he spoke to the St. Joseph School Board about the Webster School and his transformation.

"They don't have to offer it for us kids that need it, they offer it to give us a second chance," Bob said.

A second chance, he never thought he would get.

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