Operation Graduation 2011 Essay: Daniel Reaves (Athens, Ala.)

Date: July 22, 2011

My name is Daniel Reaves. I am eighteen years old and was originally a junior at Ardmore High School.

I failed back in seventh grade and I never gave up hope that I would catch myself back up one day.

When I was in high school I started doubling up on my classes doing everything I could to get the credits I needed to graduate. I never expected it to be easy, considering they told me I was three credits shy of graduating and there was no way I could take ten classes in one school year.

I almost gave up hope then, but that’s when I was called to the principal’s office. We discussed sending me to Ombudsman.

I chose to go to Ombudsman because it offered me the chance to graduate as soon as I finished the required work. I came to school every day, for a while I was there before the doors were unlocked until the time they dismissed. I flew through my first semester with ease.

During my second semester I started slacking a lot. I would sometimes come to school once a week for only a couple of hours at a time. The teachers never gave up on me even when I didn’t deserve their help.

They pushed me and pushed me and helped me to finish. I plan to go to Calhoun in the fall of this year to complete my basics. I will then go to Phil Campbell Nursing College and get my license in nursing.

I think Ombudsman helped me to accomplish all my goals sooner than I could have dreamed. If it wasn’t for them I probably would have dropped out at the beginning of this year.

I loved that the classroom setting at Ombudsman was based on you do your work and your neighbor will do his/hers. Unlike regular school you work at your own pace. You can pick the subject you would like to work on that day. If I wanted to work on my science class all day then that was fine with the teachers as well.

I was never rushed to finish a test. I never felt the pressure of seeing others finish something ahead of me which gave me a huge confidence boost.

The one on one time with the teachers was one of the main benefits I found at Ombudsman even though there are more kids in the center at the same time compared to a classroom in a high school there are several more teachers which all have something to offer.

I feel that I have successfully graduated high school here at Ombudsman. The teachers drove me to finish and I did it. I loved Ombudsman because they worked with me.

They treated me like I was a real person with real feelings and not just another body to add to the mass of the student population.

I can honestly say I am going to miss the Ombudsman staff and center.

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