Lafayette School Student Gets Graduation Ceremony All to Himself

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It was a very special day for one high school student Thursday in Charlottesville. He was the only graduate from the Lafayette School, an alternative for students who have trouble learning in a regular school setting, but that doesn't mean he missed out on the pomp and circumstance.

Tyler McNab was the only one wearing a gown Thursday, but he accepted his certificate in front of a crowd of teachers, classmates and family.

Director Barret Stump says McNab's senior year was unique.

"It's very special to have just one student. We're a small school anyway, but he is one out of a classroom of eight, and the attention has really been focused on helping him get through this year,” Stump said.

The school usually has a small number of students from grades K-12. This year it had 14, and McNab shared classes with seven other students in high school.

He says the smaller classes make the lessons feel more personal.

"It offers a lot less distractions, it offers me to have closer connections with everybody instead of the same three friends who you usually have in high school,” McNab said.

As an end-of-the-year activity, students are sewing their own quilts, but with McNab graduating, he didn't get to make one. So each of the students and staff members picked out a square and made a quilt for him.

Now, McNab says he's ready to start applying to colleges.

"There's so many things I could do, there's so many options, colleges, but I do have one thing to say: the future is definitely looking bright,” he said.

McNab says part of that positivity he feels looking toward his future comes from the close ties he formed at the Lafayette School. That's why he calls the graduation bittersweet.

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