On Friday, June 2, the 201 graduates of Main Street High/Mavericks in Kissimmee, FL; as well as family, and friends were the beneficiaries of a powerful and inspirational address by school alum – Christian Sanchez. His candid assessment of his life, prior to attending Main Street High, and how he has influenced by the school’s teachers and staff, is a strong testament to the work being done in Florida, and in all of our Bridgescape Academies.
The following is the text of Christian’s remarks to the graduates.
When I arrived at Main Street High, my life changed. I went from being a lost, punk kid, to a young man with hope for a successful and happy future. I grew up being labeled a troublemaker, being told I’d never succeed. But I’ve learned that nothing is impossible and that God has a purpose for each of our lives.
As a young teenager, I used to roam around Kissimmee with groups of friends, doing nothing productive, wondering what my purpose in life was. I first arrived at this school with a 1.8 GPA, 8 or 9 credits, and even a criminal background. I was 15 years old . . . My previous school asked me to leave, because of a pending felony charge. I was a depressed teenager and I felt like a failure, like a lost cause—I felt like a reject.
But then something happened… I came to Main Street High looking for a second chance at life. I had recently given my life to Christ at the age of 15, and I was determined to prove the world wrong, that I was no longer a lost cause—and that even a punk kid like me, with a bit of low self-esteem and a weird personality; even a punk kid like me could become a world changer, so help me God. And Main Street High did give me a second chance.
Main Street High is unique. This school gave me a clean slate and opportunities that no one else would give me. The faculty never saw me as just another number; they showed love to me and never judged me for my past. I felt like family here. I could walk into the guidance counselor’s office at any time, Ms. Heather Greene at the time, and bug her to death for anything I needed. And I knew without a doubt that if I needed help with a class, I could just go to Blue Room and bug Mr. Bodner. I knew for sure that he would teach me anything I needed to learn. I thank God for bringing me to this school, where a punk kid like me could find hope for the future, and a new beginning.
Here’s some of what the school allowed me to achieve: In my first year at Main Street High, I finished 11 classes. I went from troublemaker to honor-roll student. This school put me through the dual enrollment program, where my first semester of college was paid in full. I went from arriving at Main Street High with 9 credits, a 1.8 GPA, and a criminal background at 15 years old, to graduating from Main Street High with a 3.5 GPA with honors, and some college credits just before I turned 17. No one else believed in me, but Main Street High did.
This alone was a miracle to me. But it wasn’t just about graduating high school; Main Street High opened doors for me even after graduation. This school opened doors for the future. I went on to join the honors program at Valencia College, for a full scholarship towards my Associates Degree, and was also involved in Student Government, and an academic honors society. Just after graduating from Main Street High, I completed a summer internship with a local congressman, despite my earlier juvenile record. Within a year of graduating from Main Street High, I received personal recognition from the Governor of Florida. In a televised press release at Valencia, the Governor shared some of my story. I went on to obtain my Associates Degree with honors and a 4.0 GPA. I also gained a transfer scholarship to Harvard University’s Extension School where I’m currently enrolled and finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I’m studying government and finance, and I’m pursuing law school and my own investment firm in the near future.
It still blows my mind that a young kid with my background would even be considered for the opportunities I’ve been given, much of which I owe to Main Street High. But school is just one part of my story. . . Ever since my life changed when I was 15, I’ve been involved in the youth ministry at The Rock Church. The people here have showed me love and guidance throughout my journey, and even when the world called me a reject, this church treated me like a son. I’m 19 now and I know that nothing is impossible with God.
No matter where we’ve come from, what mistakes we’ve made, I know God has a plan and a purpose for us.
On June 6, 112 graduates received their high school diplomas from Palm Beach Central High/Mavericks; and on June 7, another 91 graduates will receive their diplomas from North Miami Mavericks.
National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Announces EdisonLearning as Model Programs Database Sponsor
The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) announces EdisonLearning as the sponsor for its dropout prevention, recovery and reentry model programs database. The database is a major national resource for educators and those who work with at-risk youth. The sponsorship allows for growth of the database from the current 357 programs to a projected 500 within a year.
The model programs database is a searchable resource of research-based programs and information that is accessed through www.dropoutprevention.org/modelprograms/. The database is available for schools, organizations and program administrators to review for opportunities to implement specific model programs, to enhance existing programs or for inspiration in creating new initiatives for dropout prevention, intervention, reentry and recovery. Researchers, policymakers, parents and students also can browse and use information from NDPC/N’s Model Programs Database sponsored by EdisonLearning.
Beyond the advantage of being searchable, programs in the database are rated based on evidence of evaluation and effectiveness. Overall program ratings are based on the number of years the program has been in existence, evaluation design, and empirical evidence demonstrating that the program prevents or reduces school dropout, improves graduation rates, or impacts a factor strongly related to dropout or on-time graduation. Four rating levels range from the highest level which indicates the model program exhibits a strong level of effectiveness to the lowest which indicates insufficient evidence of effectiveness.
“The Model Programs Database sponsored by EdisonLearning provides program planners in schools and organizations with a tool to pre view interventions and activities others have used and to access those programs that can then be evaluated for meeting their needs,” said Dr. Sandy Addis, Director of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. “We are fortunate that EdisonLearning has chosen to support the work of the NDPC/N since it allows us to continue to expand and update the much utilized database with additional programs and increased functionality.”
Thom Jackson, CEO of EdisonLearning and NDPN Board member added, “The core values of EdisonLearning align closely with those of the NDPC/N. Working together means both organizations have an increased opportunity to help young Americans achieve their goal of earning a high school diploma. Through our combine efforts, we are confident that graduation rates will increase nationwide.”
About National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N)
Established in 1986 with a mission to reduce dropout rates, NDPC/N shares solutions for student success and dropout prevention through its clearinghouse function, active research and evaluation projects, publications, and a variety of professional development activities and conferences. The organization’s website—www.dropoutprevention.org—is the nation’s leading resource in providing effective, research-based solutions to engaging students and reducing dropout. The NDPC/N is housed in the College of Education at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.
EdisonLearning is a leading international educational services provider, and the largest minority-owned education company in the country. For a quarter century, it has provided innovative solutions to help students learn, achieve, and succeed.
Growing up in an undeserved background, Patrick didn't have many opportunities for college. Through participating in the LifeBridge Mentoring Program, Patrick embraces friendship and pursues his college education which allows him to explore his passion and succeed in life. Patrick's mentor James Turner is helping him to follow-up with his college application to Central State and continues to help provide Patrick with support for his high school to college transition.
Patrick has received a band scholarship after attending our college tour to Central State University. He auditioned by playing the drums and received a band scholarship on the spot.
The video below, which is featured in this month’s LifeBridge newsletter, is a remarkable presentation about the journey Patrick has taken to achieve his educational goals. (Click on the video to watch, or go to the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mktnrwhxat5hhsh/Bridgescape Draft 6HQ.mp4?dl=0
With assistance from the EdisonLearning Grants Department and Grants Manager Paula Asbury, the Bridgescape Academies plan to continue the mentoring program next school year, with plans to include Urban Early College Network Bridgescape Academy and to expand partnerships in all three cities: Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton.
On Wednesday, March 1, students from Bridgescape Learning Academies Humboldt Park and Lawndale traveled to Rosemont, Illinois to celebrate efforts to “Empower Young People to Change the World.”
We Day is a celebration that encourages our youth to make a difference in their local and global communities. “WE Schools” has designed a year-long program that nurtures the compassion in young people and gives them the tools to create transformational social change. Together they offer young people tools and the inspiration to take social action, empower others and transform lives including their own.
We salute Directors Kisha Lang (Humboldt Park) and John Shenberger (Lawndale) for allowing our students to participate in this life-impacting event. They say WE DAY!
On January 27, EdisonLearning announced that it had acquired Mavericks in Education, a Florida-based network of six charter schools providing students a unique path to earning their high school diplomas. The following day, EdisonLearning CEO Thom Jackson met with the school leaders and staff, who are now members of the EdisonLearning team. Thom was joined by members of the Human Resources and Achievement groups, who will play important roles in ensuring a smooth and seamless transition of the former MIE staff members into the EdisonLearning family.
As a result of this acquisition:
- EdisonLearning has re-established a presence in one of our industry’s top markets;
- Doubled the size of our Alternative Education portfolio with a total of 6 schools located in North Miami Beach, Homestead, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Palm Springs, and Kissimmee;
- And, taken on the responsibility to guide nearly 2,500 young people on their educational journey to a high school diploma.