Operation Graduation 2011 Essay: Stephanie Ketelaer (Skokie, Ill.)

Date: July 20, 2011

I was a student at Niles West High School when, in my junior year, I became pregnant. I didn’t feel comfortable there anymore, surrounded by so many other kids.

So I talked with my counselor to see if there were other options. I chose Ombudsman because of the shorter hours. It worked out perfectly for me because it made it easier for me to find a babysitter and I was able to spend more time with my son.

If it wasn’t for Ombudsman, I probably would have dropped out of high school. My grades in school had been horrible. I always had to go to summer school in order to just barely pass my classes. My grades at Ombudsman have been much better.

Although I was shy and rarely asked for help during my first year at Ombudsman, things were very different this year. This year, when I needed help, especially with math, I would raise my hand and the teachers would always help. They understand the problems and can actually explain them to me pretty well. Teachers usually couldn’t slow down a lesson or work with me one-on-one when I was in the regular classroom.

The teachers at Ombudsman make you feel welcome. Every day when I would walk in, my teachers were smiling and pleased to see me. I also felt safe when I was there. There were not a lot of kids there, and I felt like there was more one-on-one interaction between students and teachers. I think that’s an incredibly good thing.

I have been very happy at Ombudsman these last two years, especially because I am graduating this year. I wouldn’t have been able to graduate without the help of Ombudsman.

Categories: Education Resources, Success Stories
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