In the ninth grade at Greenwood High School, “my grades were just trash — C’s and D’s,” Veronia Josefina Tullis said.

Thursday evening, however, she was honored as one of 13 students in Greenwood School District 50’s mid-year graduating class to finish high school with a 4.0 GPA.

District 50 has offered its seniors the option of graduating early, provided they have completed enough credits to do so, since 2003, David Loadholt, assistant superintendent of business, said at the ceremony.

They must, however, request permission to do so and explain the reason for the request.

Demarea Robinson, who graduated from Emerald High School, said he chose to graduate early so that he could get a jump start on learning welding at Piedmont Technical College.

Graduating was “fairly easy, with the help of my teachers, staff and parents,” Robinson said. “It was a long journey, but it was all worth it.”

India Middleton, who also graduated from Emerald, said she was graduating early to join the Navy and help her family.

In 2003, the mid-year graduating class consisted of only 15 students, Loadholt said. The ceremony took place in the district board room.

Thursday’s ceremony was in the Emerald High School gym. 110 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

As for Tullis, she was able to graduate with stellar grades after a change in mindset.

“I guess I had a wake up call,” Tullis said. Thereafter, she was hard on herself, getting upset with anything less than an A.

“I knew what I wanted to do: occupational therapist,” she added. “I knew that you need good grades for that.”

Contact staff writer Aleks Gilbert at 864-943-5644.