In the bustling kitchen of the Food Services room, Rachel* emerges from the crowd of student cooks wearing her white chef’s hat and apron. As we sit down to discuss school, a grin lights up her face and she proudly exclaims, “I went from a freshman to a junior in two semesters.”
When Rachel first arrived to EYC six months before, she had been shifting from one placement to the next. At 16 years old and mostly earning D’s and F’s in school, her only hope was to achieve a high school diploma. However Excelsior High School and her treatment coordinator encouraged her to find a dream. “They helped me get the credits from my other placements….” Rachel shares, “Instead of graduating in 2006, I’ll get my diploma in 2005.” "I went from a freshman to a junior in two semesters."
In her last progress report, Rachel earned a B- grade point average. She credits her teachers’ style of educating for her motivation to work hard at different subjects. “Mr. Brown (teacher of English) is always mixing up different ways for us to learn, like audio tapes, movies, and note-taking.” She also appreciates Mrs. Boortz for letting her students learn math at their own pace and Mrs. Bruce-Andrews… for making history interesting. “Candace (Mrs. Bruce-Andrews) is always giving us interesting projects to work on to bring [the events] to life.” She also took a summer class on Criminal Justice and vows that she’s going to keep all her notes because it was so interesting.
Rachel now wants to earn a college degree. After taking the PSAT, offered by Excelsior High School, and a daily two-hour cooking course in Food Services, she realizes that a career is in her grasp. “I’ve always loved to cook and have learned how to run a restaurant in Food Services. I want to go to culinary school and someday try to run my own restaurant.”
Juanitra Blakeley Turning Her Life Around
"When I was told I was going to Colorado, I didn't even know where that was since I never went to school," this Philadelphia-based alumni shares as she remembers her life before entering EYC. After three years of residing between Sequoia cottage and the Independent Living Program, she graduated and successfully discharged in 2004. Now instead of running from school, Juanitra is pursuing a higher education. She has already earned her Certification of Nursing Assistance and is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at a local community college.
"I want to become a nurse," she says. "I don't need an AA degree. I just want to be more educated before I earn my LPN (Licensed Practitioner Nursing degree)." EYC wishes her the best as she continues turning her life around!