Opening Doors for Success

Opening Doors for Success
Posted on 09/03/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Opening Doors for SuccessAs Sarah Hosko and Jaime Lopez entered the new facility for the uGrad Open Door Reengagement program, staff greeted them with congratulations on graduating. Sarah and Jaime both earned their GEDs in 2019 through ESD 123’s reengagement program, which gives students who have opted-out of high school or otherwise disengaged from the educational process the opportunity to earn their high school diploma or GED.

Jaime
Jaime found out about the uGrad reengagement program when his independent learning teacher found him playing basketball on campus when he was supposed to be in class. The teacher set up a meeting with the school counselor, who suggested the uGrad program.

“It wasn’t the only option, but it was the best option,” says Jaime. “I felt lost. I didn’t know if I could graduate and get a GED, but I knew I wanted to.”

Jaime also had the added motivation of an agreement he made with his sisters that whoever didn’t go to college would have to shave their heads.

SarahSarah Hosko discovered the reengagement program after dropping out of high school while she and her mother were researching alternative paths to a GED.
“I knew I needed something to move forward in life,” Sarah said. “To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure about it; I didn’t want to go back to high school. I wasn’t the kind of person to be into school.”

With a guided learning experience and help from her case manager, however, Sarah found the uGrad program to be almost the opposite of her experience in high school. Whereas in high school, she never wanted to go to class and would often skip, she attended uGrad group meetings regularly and would even sometimes find herself one of the only students attending. Sarah says she really appreciated having her case manager, Felipe Zavala, there to help her and work through problems with her.

Likewise, Jaime received both the support and a framework he needed to overcome the challenges he’d previously faced. He says the first week in the program was a struggle, but after his case manager, Donna Kunk, set up his first test, he found his stride scheduling his study time working toward the test date.
With a GED on her resume, Sarah is now looking for her first job and hopes to work with animals. Jaime took the first step to keeping his agreement with his sisters by attending an admissions workshop to learn more about enrolling at Columbia Basin College. He is even recommending the program to others, including his cousin.

“I honestly feel I can make the next step. I can see it,” he says. “The program helped a lot, and that’s why I want my cousin to do it.”

To continue supporting student success stories for the 2019-20 school year and beyond, ESD 123 has transformed its reengagement program through a partnership with the Benton Franklin Workforce Development Council to open a new facility, the TC Futures Center. For students interested in the program, orientations are held daily at 1:00 PM at the TC Futures Center. Orientations last approximately half-an-hour and drop-ins are welcome. You can also get more information by calling the TC Futures Center at 509-537-1710 or emailing Mark Wheaton, TC Futures Center Director, at mwheaton@esd123.org.
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