Operation Graduation 2013: Jamal Coleman (Elgin, Ill.)

Date: July 2, 2013

My name is Jamal Coleman. I am 20 years old, and today I’m done with high school. I’ve been in high school for five years and, man, does it feel good to be done! When I first started, I attended Larkin High School. I was happy to be in high school, a little bit too happy. When I was in Larkin for only my first three months of school, I was fighting and involved in gang actions nearly every day. LHS got fed up with my behavior.

Next, the school district sent me to CSP (Central School Programs). I spent the next four years there. I went to Central thinking it was going to better for me because then I won’t have to fight everyday and keep getting kicked out of school. But that didn’t work out so well. My first day there I almost got into a fight. After a while I started thinking about getting my GED because high school wasn’t working for me. I had teachers and students that told me that I’d never make it through high school. People on the street even told me that I’d never finish high school. I started thinking maybe they were right.  Then things turned for the worst.

It all started with a situation at CSP between a teacher and me. It ended up so bad that I went to jail. My name even made the newspaper. From there, I thought it was over for me. I thought I was never going to have that feeling everybody gets when they get their diploma. When I got out of jail and back at school, I started doing everything from swearing at teachers, to flipping desks, to getting kicked out every day. Again, I had lost all hope in school and in myself.

Then this opportunity to come to Ombudsman was brought to me. At first I wasn’t going to come back to high school, but I thought I’d give it one more chance. When I first came to Ombudsman, I was still going through my little thing – trying to figure out if I wanted to just get my GED or not. Finally, I decided to give high school one last try. For that I thank my mom, dad, and the teachers at Ombudsman for helping me through high school.

In the end, I stayed in school at Ombudsman. I found out it was everything they said it would be there. There were teachers always around to help me when I needed it the most.  I never got into fights because there are no distractions with gang activity. And I got my work done and earned my credits. Now today I am done. Ombudsman helped me do it and for that I am very grateful.

Photo Credit: Script Magazine


Categories: Education Resources, Success Stories
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