Christmas Comes Early for Ombudsman Students (Chicago)
Christmas will come early this year for Julio Juarez, Keiara Peeple, Jamil Hamlin and several other Ombudsman Chicago students who will earn their Chicago Public Schools high school diploma.
“Education is the gift that cannot be taken away,” said Dr. Chaun Johnson, principal, Ombudsman Chicago. “Each time a student walks through the doors at Ombudsman, he or she takes one step closer to earning that precious gift.”
A Chicago Public Schools Options School (not a charter), Ombudsman Chicago opened its first location in August 2013. With three locations on the Northwest, West and South Sides of the city, Ombudsman offers students a second chance at achieving academic success and building a bright future.
In 2013, Julio Juarez, a 19-year-old Englewood native, was headed down the wrong path. Skipping class on a daily basis put him so far behind in his school work, he was eventually expelled from school and decided to drop out.
A month after Julio dropped out, he got a job as a cook and helped out at home by caring for his 3-year-old sister while their mother was working. After being out of school for almost a year, something clicked and Julio realized he didn’t want his baby sister to follow his example and think that dropping out of school was acceptable.
A little over a year after dropping out, Julio has found a strong support system from the Ombudsman staff and is slated to graduate this December. “I’m so glad I made the decision to come back to school,” said Juarez. “I have recommended Ombudsman to my friends and family and I hope they will choose to follow the same path I have.” After graduation, Julio would like to attend Richard Daley or Malcolm X College where he will study to become an EMT and eventually train to become a firefighter.
Ombudsman will honor these graduates and others during ceremonies held at each of its three Chicago locations in January. Students who have earned their diploma during the winter semester will be invited to participate in the school’s expanded graduation ceremony in June 2015.