East St. Louis High School graduates entering college as juniors - KMOV.com

East St. Louis High School graduates entering college as juniors

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Nicquayleeonntea Moore is a recent graduate of East St. Louis High School, apart of the "Running Start" program. (Credit: KMOV) Nicquayleeonntea Moore is a recent graduate of East St. Louis High School, apart of the "Running Start" program. (Credit: KMOV)
EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) - -

Students in east St. Louis have graduated high school, and instead of entering college as a freshman, they'll be entering as a junior.

They're a part of a program called, "Running Start."

"It's really hard, but I did it to make him proud," said Nicquayleeonntea Moore.

It's hard to hold back tears for 18-year-old Moore, who is a part of the program, as she talks about her success.

"It's sad, but it's a happy moment because his niece did something great," Moore continued.

She's referring to her uncle who is in jail.  He was like a father to her, and although he's no longer around, she's turned what she calls a trial into a triumph.

"In the fall I'm going to Tennessee State to run track for them," said Moore.

Nikki Mo, as so many like to call her, is a recent East St. Louis High School graduate entering college as a junior.

"He was there when I first started, and he's not there right now," Moore said.

"No matter what obstacles you have, because I've been through a few, no matter what you have, just keep pushing," Moore added.

She's one of the first four students to graduate the Running Start program.  It gives East St. Louis students the opportunity to earn an Associates Degree at the same time they complete their high school diploma.

She took college classes on the Southwestern Illinois Community College Campus.  The program is basically a full ride scholarship for two years.  The students then transfer to 4-year universities with just two years left to get their Bachelor's Degree.

"I plan on talking on TV one day," Moore said of a dream she once thought may never happen.

"Understanding everybody has hard times, it just comes at different times," she said.

Now, her dream has gotten just a bit closer.

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