May 26, 2011

Redemption, Part 2

In my last post I shared some amazing stories of kids who saved themselves from dropping out of high school. As a teacher, those stories are the ones that keep me going year after year. They inspire to keep getting up and going to work in the morning. But to be honest, they don't stick with me as long as the other stories--the stories of the kids who did not make it to graduation. Those stories haunt me, sometimes, and it is hard to let them go. I relive moments where I could've, should've done something to make a difference. I worry that I am no longer an effective teacher and start combing the ads to look for another job. I worry.

In the past few weeks I have been contacted by a few of the kids who didn't make it. These kids have been doing the same "could've should've" dance that I do when I think about them. 

A girl I'll call "M," who dropped out of school several years ago, messaged me on Facebook.  She's ready to finish school but doesn't know how to go about it. She asked how to go about finally getting her diploma.

A young man who has struggled with alcoholism since the age of 14, dropped out of our alternative program at 17. He will receive his diploma from an adult high school completion program this week at the age of 20.  

And perhaps the most impressive story of all:

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The mother of a sophomore student who dropped out earlier this year visited this week. She said, "I realized that I can't get him to graduate if I never did it myself." She enrolled in the adult high school completion program and is proving to her son that it is possible for the people in their family to succeed.

Talk about redemption! It is never too late to strive for success. 

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