Walking the walk: Teen lacking 2 credits denied graduation ceremony
Maguire Wardle has spent the past semester glued to her computer.
The 17-year-old not only completed her junior year at Rocky Mountain High School, but crammed her entire senior year at the same time by enrolling in online courses and night school.
Maguire’s drive and determination was fueled from distress after being bullied in school.
Maguire explained to On Your Side tearfully, “I thought the people who were my friends weren’t.”
After hearing about the issues of bullying, Wardle’s parents tried to work with the school administrators to stop the behavior, but the school ultimately told the family that Wardle should change schools.
Lisa Wardle, Maguire’s mom, was surprised when Maguire refused to change schools.
Lisa told On Your Side, “She was not going to let them win. She was determined to say it’s not ok to treat people this way. And I was really proud of her.”
Maguire buckled down and decided to take the maximum number of online and night school credits allowed in a semester. She made straight A’s.
In three years, Maguire earned 54 credits, only two credits short needed to participate in the Meridian School District graduation ceremony.
Maguire decided to sign up for her last two elective credits over this summer and take photography and fitness.
Maguire’s dad, Scott, supports his daughter and explained, “She gets a diploma when she completes those classes. All we wanted was for her to participate in the ceremony and acknowledge her accomplishments.”
The family hired an attorney to argue their case in front of the Meridian School Board.
The board of trustees voted 3 to 1 against Maguire citing policy as the reason to not allow her to walk in the ceremony.
Eric Exline, the Director of Community Relations for the Meridian School District, explained the decision as, “The board simply says yes, you met the graduation requirements, or you have not met the graduation requirements.”
The Wardles argue their daughter deserves to be honored for overcoming bullying and completing so many credits in a short amount of time.
Maguire is hopeful and said, “It would be awesome if I could have that feeling of walking across. Feeling accomplished and all my hard work paid off in the end.”
Even if Maguire completes the final two credits, she will never walk in a graduation ceremony.
Another Meridian district policy states, "Students who are full time both semesters of their senior year...are eligible to participate in graduation exercises.
Maguire will not be a full-time high school student next year, because she will be in college.