Operation Graduation 2013: Christopher Manning (Holt, Mich.)

Date: June 25, 2013

Growing up in Lansing with no positive role models affected my actions and decisions as a student. I started my ninth grade year at Everett High School where I goofed off with my friends. The teachers seemed uncaring because they couldn’t teach rowdy students. I was heading down the wrong path and making poor decisions; this led to my probation.

Shortly after that, my mom bought a house in Holt. I didn’t want to move! And all my friends were there in Lansing. I didn’t know anyone in Holt. The majority of the kids at the school where white, so I felt like there was no way I’d fit in. The teachers were friendly, but I kept to myself. I fell behind because I slept in class; I didn’t want to be there, and I missed my friends.

My probation officer found out that I had been skipping and my grades were slipping. I had to go to a youth center and miss school for an entire month. After coming back, coaches encouraged me to play sports. I did well and started doing better in my classes. However, when I wasn’t playing football, I didn’t really care.

I was called down to the office to discuss where I was at academically. The counselor wanted to sign me up for Ombudsman. Going to Ombudsman, me? “No way!” was my first thought. When my counselor said I was behind in credits I wasn’t going to graduate with my class I still didn’t want to go. I thought about all the things my friends would say about me.

My start to Ombudsman was rough; I was arrogant and thought the teachers were lazy. I thought the program was going to be easy, so I could take my time. I assumed it would be easier than what others said it would be… I was wrong.

Fortunately Ms. Turchetti and Mrs. Ragnone had a meeting with me. We discussed how I could change. We came up with goals for me to finish my classes on time. I started to get focused on completing my classes. A couple of days after, I had a talk with my teacher Mr. Holloway. We had a life changing conversation. I started to stay at the facility 7:30am – 9pm to complete all of my classes. A couple of months later, I had completed my classes with the help of my caring and inspiring teachers. They are the reason I am where I am right now. We created a special bond with each other; they are mentors to me. They helped me look for colleges and inspired me to apply for any college I wanted. I got accepted into three colleges and now going to attend Southwestern Michigan College which has a great criminal justice program which will transfer to Ferris State University. I will be joining the ROTC program at Ferris state then join the Air Force for four years. Going to Edtrek was most definitely a blessing in disguise.

Photo Credit: Blessing in Disguise


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