NIXA, Mo. — The Nixa School District is celebrating the 500th graduate of its alternative school called SCORE.

SCORE, which stands for Second Chance of Receiving an Education, is a program for students at risk of not graduating.

Seniors had a graduation celebration and banquet Tuesday afternoon.

After starting back in 1999, SCORE has now graduated 526 graduates in total.

“The first class had four graduates,” said SCORE Principal Cheryl Huson. “This year we’ll have 33.”

Student Keegan Winter was recognized as the 500th graduate of the program.

“If it wasn’t for SCORE, I probably would have dropped out,” said Winter.

Winter said he started going to SCORE his freshman year of high school.

“Oh man, my grades were terrible,” said Winter. “In junior high, my grades were just all F’s. By sophomore year my grades were all A’s.

Huson said for students who attend SCORE, their placement is usually based on grades and attendance. 

“We’ll have kids request to come here or their parents request for them to come here,” said Huson. “They may not have any grade issues, but we may have students that have a lot of anxiety with going to a school that size. They might request to come here because the smaller environment is usually beneficial for them.”

The smaller environment, she said, allows students and teachers to form a closer bond.

“Some alternative schools are one room, maybe all on the computer,” said Huson. “Here we’re lucky we have full-time teachers who offer regular classroom instruction and use the same curriculum as the high school.”

Staff at SCORE said a lot of times their graduates will go on to a trade school or a four-year college.