Did you attend Discovery High School all four years? No, I started in the AVID program at RA Long. My mother left in my freshmen year, so it was a little rough.

What happened when your mother left? Since my mom left, I had to get a job to help pay family bills and ended up getting behind in school. My grades were suffering and I almost dropped out of school.

What did your school counselor say? She told me to go to Discovery High School – she said they will help you out a lot.

What did you find at Discovery High School? My counselor was correct the people at Discovery helped me with everything. I’m graduating from high school, which is a surprise.

What was your school schedule like? Discovery allowed me to keep my job and come to class when it worked for my schedule. They helped me with online classes too.

Where do you work? I’ve worked at Wendy’s for about the last two years.

How old were you when you started working? Since I turned 16 years old, I’ve been working 40 hours per week.

What is your work schedule like? I usually work the closing shift at Wendy’s, which is 3 pm to 1 am every day. I would come to school at either 7 am or noon, depending on the classes I needed. Then I would go to work.

When would you complete online classes? I’d bring my computer to work and do homework on breaks and at home. Sometimes I did homework at 1 am after work.

What has the opportunity at Discovery High School meant to you? It has meant a lot, I’ve definitely cried a few times thinking I wouldn’t be able to graduate high school. Mr. Kleiner and Ms. Dunaway both pulled me aside and told me I could come here whenever my scheduled allowed and they would help me – I cried a lot when they told me. It meant so much that they cared and wanted me to graduate.

Would you be a high school graduate without the opportunity at Discovery? No, I don’t think so.

When you first started at Discovery what was your school schedule? I came to school for all six periods of the day even though two of my classes were online. You can take the online classes at home, but when my schedule allowed I came to school anyway.

How are the online classes structured? You watch videos lessons to learn concepts and how to do things. Then you complete assigned work and come to school to take the tests.

What does being a high school graduate mean to you? I want to be an elementary school teacher and I can’t go to college without graduating from high school. I don’t want to work in fast food the rest of my life – Discovery has helped me a lot.

Why do you want to be a teacher? I swam on the swim team all four years and my coach asked me to help give young kids swim lessons. Seeing the excitement on the kid’s faces when they learned to swim was amazing.

How did it make you feel to see the kids succeed? I loved it; I knew they would remember learning to swim for the rest of their life.

What are your plans after graduation? I’m planning to enroll at Lower Columbia College and hope to be accepted into their teaching program. I definitely want to do more with my life than work in fast food – I want to be proud of myself.

What grade level do you hope to teach? Definitely younger kids.

Has anyone in your family ever been to college? Yes, my older sister is the first one to go to college. She’s enrolled at LCC right now.

Did you participate in athletics during high school? Yes, I was on the swim team all four years. I went to districts every year too.  My coach became my role model – I loved it.

Was it hard juggling your schedule? It was hard juggling my schedule during the swimming season. Sometimes I had to go straight from the swim meet to work. I dreaded Saturday swim meets. We would have to be at the pool by 7 am, then I would be at the pool until about 2 pm then head straight to work for the 2 pm to 11 pm shift.

What would you tell the public about Discovery High School? It is an opportunity that not a lot of schools give you. Everyone here cares; every teacher knows all the students and cares about us. They want us to graduate. Many kids wouldn’t have the opportunity to graduate without Discovery.

Can you tell us about the teachers at Discovery? Ms. Dunaway is my favorite teacher, she teaches math. I wasn’t going to graduate due to the state test and I am good at math, but sometimes struggle sitting through 3-hour tests. Ms. Dunaway welcomed me with “open arms” and encourage me to stay after school to take more tests to get the points I needed to graduate. Ms. Dunaway was there every step of the way.

What are some of your best memories from high school? Coming to Discovery High School was big – the biggest step, this is definitely a school I will remember. I was in the AVID class at RA Long for the first two years. That class was a whole family at R.A. Long. We were all taking Advanced Placement classes and struggling through them together.

Has Discovery High School changed your life? Oh yeah, a whole lot. Discovery has opened my eyes. The people here encouraged me to graduate and told me they would always be here for me.

What is the atmosphere like at Discovery? It’s different from other schools in part because it’s smaller. I know everyone here. When new people show up we introduce each other – we are all friendly. People think this school is for bad kids, but that is not true. The students at Discovery are super sweet and smart.

Are you saying the perception of Discovery is not necessarily the truth? Not even close. The teachers at Discovery really care about you. Discovery has small classes with 13-15 kids so the teachers work one on one with you. Teachers will stay after school and do whatever it takes to help you.

What else? In part because of Discovery High School, more and more kids are earning their diploma and graduating high school. I didn’t think I would graduate, but I did. At Discovery, everyone is in your corner cheering you on.

What do

you want people to remember about you? Even if you think nobody is cheering you on – someone is. Don’t give up.