The summer break is over, and for students at the new alternative school in Rapid City, hopes are high.
"I go to school here and I'm definitely going to get a diploma; I'm not taking any chances anywhere else. It's not the easy way out; it's just the best way," senior Elijah Hatten said.
"It's just a place where you can feel welcomed. I feel welcomed here all the time. It's awesome; it's home," senior Shavonne Ward said.
"What's different is smaller class sizes. More one-on-one attention from teachers because of the class sizes, and a different way of teaching something that's more project based or problem based where they're actually getting in and solving a problem," Rapid City High School Principal Deb Steele said.
The school is also home to the district's day care, which makes a huge difference for single parents like 19-year-old Shavonne Ward.
"I don't think I would've gone back to school. It's kind of hard living on my own and then being a single-parent, mother," Ward said.
Not only are kids at Rapid City High School working on getting their high school diplomas, many are also getting a head start on earning a college degree. Just like traditional students, students at the alternative school can also take classes through Western Dakota Tech.
"We're hopefully getting kids into whatever the next chapter of their life is before they ever leave us," Steele said.
For many that means a better shot at a bright future.
"Without them, I probably would have dropped out by now and probably would've just been working fast food jobs the rest of my life," Hatten said.
Before this year, the school district had four alternative school programs housed in different buildings. They are now consolidated under one roof. There are around 500 students currently enrolled in the school.