Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Boys Who Wouldn’t Graduate

by Jan Shoop
Sometimes you think you have everything figured out. Then something happens to make you stop and rethink.

I was meeting with Tori and Sabrina, the high school teachers, in my office. It was late January. We were reviewing the list of seniors and their status for graduation. All of the seniors had passed the AIMS graduation test. The students were on track to complete their final classes. However, two boys were starting to falter.

Now -- these two boys had been attending StarShine for a number of years. They were both excellent students. They were both well mannered and had completed their previous classes timely with excellent grades. However, for some reason they were now dragging their feet. Tori, Sabrina and I discussed all the reasons we could think of for this change in behavior, but came up with nothing.

After our meeting, the teachers scheduled conferences with each boy to discuss their concerns. Luckily, both teachers had excellent repoire with the boys. Thus, the boys were willing to speak openly about their fears. What Tori and Sabrina found out surprised all of us. And, in the end gave us an opportunity to change some procedures at the school for the better.

The reason the boys didn’t want to graduate was because StarShine had become their family. Their only family. Both boys were homeless. They moved around a lot and lived with friends and distant relatives from time to time. The boys saw graduation as a way to force them to leave the StarShine family. The one stable place in their life was StarShine. The boys didn’t want to lose that family, too.

Tori, Sabrina and I sat down together, with the boys, to discuss the issue and their concerns. We assured the boys that they actually weren’t leaving the StarShine family; they were just graduating. We gave them the opportunity to return in the fall and participate at the school with mentoring, tutoring, volunteering and attending field trips. The boys felt relieved knowing they would not lose their StarShine family upon graduating. They ended up happily graduating on time and actually spoke at the graduation about their experiences at the school.

I learned a valuable lesson about the importance a school can make in the life of a child or young adult. In addition, I relearned a valuable lesson about how teachers can positively impact student lives.

If you enjoyed this story, we have lot's more posted in the Inspirational Stories Category. One of my favorites is, "Frozen Chickens." Inspirational Stories-Frozen Chickens

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