I'm in Lindsay Ca, in the Central Valley, snuggled up against the Sierra Nevada foothills. It's about 100 degrees. I have some sweet local cherries to eat though, and having great dinner of pupusas at Salvadoran restaurant. Here for graduation of our Fellow at JJ Cairns Continuation School, Mario Rodriguez. I never met with Mario. Interviewed him by Skype, then let him run. A kid on the cusp, graduate? Nope. He didn't come to school and when he did he cussed out everybody. But he excelled as a Fellow and graduating tonight, with honors. Picture of Mario, his advisor and mentor. His mentor made him go to school and do his work.
So I'm here to distribute his scholarship of $1,000 cash, and another $1,000 to mentor and school staff. It's not big money, but especially for schools that are really up against it resource wise, the infusion of not just a little cash, but the infusion of SUPPORT, of being valued, of recognized, provides a genuine morale and spirit lift to students, staff, school, and all the parents here.
Our most successful Fellows are coming out of continuation schools, and schools seriously deficient in resources. The second picture I have included is of two of our Fellows in Marlboro South Carolina receiving honors from the school board as being the first Harbor Freight Fellows in Marlboro County - a rural, predominantly African American, very poor district. I never met them either. Interviewed by Skype. When I got onscreen to interview them, their parents were there, their welding teacher, their counselor, their principal, and the district superintendent. I don't have a clue how they found about the program - I just got a call one day.
The third is a video of Fellow Fernando Hernandez, from Yolo County Career Academy in Woodland Ca. presenting results of his group's thinking around educational outcomes at a convening of Education ReImagined in Denver this past week. Fernando was a checked out kid - hoodie and earplugs, head down, expelled from his high school. That's how he got to Yolo Career Academy - and he is so brilliant, such a good young man. His mentor, and being engaged in something he loves, and keeps getting better at, has allowed him to flourish.
Long time ago, Phil Price best described what we do - is it college prep, drop out prevention, CTE, progressive? He said, "we practice TRANSFORMATIONAL education". god bless us all just keep pushing, anywhere, everywhere we get an inch of room. I so appreciate all your work, and spirits. Charlie