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Back-To-School:  A Graduate’s Story

William A. (Bill) Hritsco

Dear Friend:

Brian* sat with three other graduates in the front row of the Chapel, grinning from ear to earIt was graduation day at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings, Montana. 

All four graduates wore graduation caps and gowns. All four received an official High School Diploma from Yellowstone Academy, the fully-accredited K-12 school located right on Yellowstone’s Campus. 

The future for these young adults never looked brighter, especially considering the trauma-induced emotional and behavioral issues each graduate brought with them when they first came to the Ranch.

Brian asked his favorite teacher, Mrs. Simms*, to say a few words on his behalf at the ceremony.  As she approached the podium, she began shaking her head and laughing.  “Brian,” she said, “I wasn’t sure this day would ever come.  You’ve worn me out these last four years!” 

But then Mrs. Simms’ eyes brimmed with tears as she softly told Brian, “I’ve never been so proud of one of my students as I am right now.  I want you to take that diploma in your hands and go conquer the world!”  As it happens, Brian is all lined up to start classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, with the hopes of going on to earn a nursing degree from a local university.      

It might seem strange to tell a graduation story in a letter asking for your help to buy back-to-school supplies for Yellowstone’s other students.  But, you see, there is a line of boys and girls standing behind Brian, looking up to him and desperately hoping they will be handed their own diploma one day soon.  With help from Yellowstone’s loyal donors, they will. 

A new crop of students, from elementary children to high schoolers, is ready to return to Yellowstone Academy for the new school year.  These children know they will be safe inside Yellowstone’s classrooms.  They know they will get plenty of one-on-one help from the special education teachers, the clinical therapists and the school psychologist at Yellowstone Academy.

Most of the children at the Ranch come from dysfunctional and even non-existent homes.  They don’t have new backpacks filled with pencils, notebooks, markers and glue like most other kids their age.  But, if you will continue to support Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation like you have in the past, we will be able to make sure each student has what he or she needs to start the school year off right.

Your best gift now will make a difference and will set Yellowstone’s kids up to succeedand one day sit in those front-row chairs in the Chapel, smiling from ear to ear, as they get called up on stage to receive their High School Diploma.  Thank you for all you do to give Yellowstone’s kids a chance.

For the kids,

Bill Hritsco, President

P.S.  Be assured that 100% of your gift will be used to purchase school supplies and other back-to-school items so desperately needed by Yellowstone’s kids.

*Names changed to ensure confidentiality.