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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Highs and Lows

It amazes me how, in a few hours, I can see such a diversity of experiences from the student body that I am interacting with at my internship. Today has to be a record for highs and lows.

I walked in the door today and was quickly whisked off to help conduct interviews with the scholarship committee of the school. I sat in on approximately 12 interviews of the top 20% of the graduating class, all college-bound, all with dreams, and all who had worked incredibly hard to get where they were. These students are not headed to Yale or Harvard. Many of them are not documented, so all they can hope for is a community college. And probably more than half have been in America less than three or four years. But they have all worked so hard to try to have a future for themselves.

We interviewed a bunch of students who were going for nursing degrees, a student who wants to be a pastry chef, a student who composed a poem on the spot during the interview (he was awesome!) and students wanting to be teachers. None of them can afford college on their own, but they are going after their dreams regardless.

During the interviews, the previous day was mentioned a few times. Apparently, over the weekend there had been some incidents in the community that had caused some strife. Several fights had broken out, with non-students being let in the building. Concern was expressed about security; several students stated they didn't feel very safe. It was a little scary.

After the interview, I headed upstairs to see my one-on-one students. I got word that one of the students I had seen in the fall had just dropped out of school because she's pregnant. I hate to say that I wasn't incredibly surprised. My other students are dealing with a host of issues relating to past abuse and major anger and violence problems. Their grades are not good. One has so many absences it is questionable whether she will get credit this year. Her brother is still in high school at 19 years old. Another brother dropped out.

Such highs and lows in one building. In one day.

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