Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Almost 10 years later, former Wellborn student to receive high school diploma

Munford's Chris Stevens tries to bring down Wellborn's Marreo Thomas in this file photo. Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star

His macaroni and cheese needs stirring.

Marreo Thomas is running behind, so the well-worn stainless steel pot holds the dinner, or maybe breakfast, he'll take with him to the graveyard shift at Anniston's chemical weapons incinerator.

His means are limited for now.

He hopes his success on the high school graduation exam this summer — 10 years after most of his peers passed it — will provide some opportunities he's missed in the past decade.

Though his class left in 1998, Wellborn High School will celebrate its most recent graduate in a ceremony today.

"Every time I took the test, something came up," Thomas said.

His father died around test time one year. Later, work obligations occupied his mind and time.

"But I had a lot of help. With the right people behind me, it wasn't too bad."

Thomas, known as "Train" during his high school days for his prowess as a running back, passed all his classes. But he stumbled on the reading and language portion of the exit exam.

Without a passing score on the graduation exam, Alabama won't award a diploma.

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