Operation Graduation 2013: Caitlin Welch (DeKalb, Ill.)

Date: June 25, 2013

Ombudsman has made the biggest change in my life I’ve ever experienced so far. Before I started attending Ombudsman I dropped out of school because I would skip so much and my classes wouldn’t count anymore because I went over the days a student could miss. I wasn’t thinking clearly and all I could think about was partying and being with my friends. Little did I know that those friends weren’t going to be there when I grow up to guide me the right way towards college or better my career.  I was just stuck in the moment. Growing up kids deal with all different types of situations. And me thinking I was a cool kid for ditching school and not caring about homework or grades just put me in honestly the worst category a high school student could be in. I live with my mom, she is diagnosed with leukemia and that causes her to not have a job, and be on medication. Even though I know she wants to be there for me as much as possible and guide me in the right direction she has her own problems to deal with, which is why now she couldn’t be more proud of me because I did it on my own with the help of great influences in my life. At the high school my counselor Ms. Hunt was the biggest influence for me. I look up to her; she knew I could do it even when I was on the breaking point of dropping out. My life before Ombudsman was NOTHING like it is now. I honestly don’t know where I would be or if I would be the strong independent woman I am today! And I couldn’t thank everyone enough that believed in me.

Ombudsman was the perfect fit for me. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for this program I would have not graduated on time, let alone graduated at all. The hours were perfect and me not having to wake up early helped my attendance extremely! I am far from a morning person, but what high school student is? When I started coming here I was quiet and to myself. The more I got used to Ombudsman the more I grew a bond which each teacher and they became role models for me. Nothing is a better feeling then having people who care about you and being able to feel the vibe on how much they care. I love how strong our bonds are, we can joke around, we can be serious when we need to be, and I can just all around trust them. They are a huge influences on my high school experience and I wouldn’t have wanted any other teachers to watch me grow and be able to now watch me walk across the stage, proudly. We all make mistakes and to this day I am the biggest procrastinator but one thing you can say about me is no matter how last minute I always get what I need to get done. I know I needed to graduate to make my parents, family, teachers, and others proud but most importantly I needed to do this for ME. One day when I have kids I will push them in school SO hard because school is very important. Ombudsman didn’t only help me with graduating, it taught me a lifelong lesson that I will take with me forever.

I will be attending Kish Community College in the fall. As of right now I want to become a probation officer and maybe even move up to become a correctional officer. I believe this is the perfect job for me. Not to be able to discipline the offenders but to be able to be a good influence and guide them the right way like my teachers at Ombudsman did for me. I want to return the favor, and be able to watch someone grow right before my eyes and experience that feeling. Even if that isn’t what my life turns out to be, I know I will pick a career with helping people. Life isn’t always about the material things. It’s about love, caring and giving.  If everyone took the time to do more of that and not worry so much about the bad things and arguing the world would be a better place. We need more good influences for people. I’m ready to close this chapter in my life and open the next one. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me next. But I know I will take whatever it throws at me. With the help of Ombudsman and my amazing teachers plus great influences in my life I will take the lessons they have taught me and promise to pass them on and I will never ever forget any of you, or our memories.

Categories: Education Resources, Success Stories
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