Frisco ISD students who failed TAKS test earn diplomas after law changes

It was a delayed but still sweet graduation for some Frisco ISD students.

The students were not able to receive their high school diplomas years ago after failing the state standardized test. But legislators have since passed a law that makes graduation and a brighter future possible.

Four high school diplomas at Frisco ISD on Monday. There were tears and lots of emotion because the new graduates thought it was just not meant to be.

It was an informal ceremony, but it was a major milestone for four students who were denied their diploma years ago because they could not pass the exit-level TAKS test.

The old standardized test, before the STAAR test replaced it, was a requirement of graduation between 2003 and 2011.

A new state law in place this year has given Texas school districts an alternate pathway to offer students who tried multiple times but still failed to pass the TAKS test. 

Among the four graduates was one student who would've graduated as far back as 2011. Another drove here from Houston just to receive her long-awaited diploma.

"I gave up. I was like, ‘That’s not going to happen,’” said Sanjuana Olvera. “I saw my brother finish last year. I was like that could be me. But when she reached out to me, I was like yes. I think I'm going to do it. I'm going to make it."

"I never thought I was going to get it, and I just wanted to give it to my mom so she can do whatever she wanted to do with it,” said Antonietta Ceccarelli. “But now that that's over. I can finally go to college and continue with my future plans."

Some did online course work while others attended work sessions and completed a project in the subject area they failed years ago. A total of 14 graduated. Ten others are outside North Texas.

The district has identified between 60 and 70 students who never got their diplomas because they couldn't pass the TAKS test. They're still trying to locate other students.