Yvonne R. was proud and excited to walk across the stage to accept her high school diploma, but it was with some sadness, wishing her mother could be there with her. Yvonne lost her mom when she was just 14, and then bounced around living with various relatives while helping take care of her younger sisters.

“When I first started school, I was put into bilingual classes, but I was confused between Spanish and English, so they held me back twice,” she explained. “By the time I got to 8th grade, I was 15-16 years old. After losing my mom, I fell further behind and even dropped out for a while so I could help my sisters.” She was intimidated by the size of her previous high school and didn’t get the extra attention she needed.

A counselor told her about us and she loved the warm welcome and respect from the entire staff from day one.

The smaller size and individual attention helped her overcome her shyness and she began to catch up on credits. “I had struggled with English my whole life, so here I received free tutoring,” she said. “And the counseling helped me deal with losing my parents.”

When she wanted to give up, our teachers would gently push her to never give up and remind her that her mom wanted her to finish school. “I had promised her that I would finish school, and I’m proud that caught up and graduated at age 18,” she said. “I want the same for my sisters and am making sure they stay in school.”

Yvonne is interested in joining the military and has been speaking with Navy recruiters about a medical program they offer. Her future looks bright, and she is eager to create a better life for herself and her sisters.

Written By:
Ann Abajian