Operation Graduation 2013: Ryan Chmura (Elgin, Ill.)

Date: June 6, 2013

High school has been an extremely rough ride for me. I haven’t always made the best decisions. My name is Ryan Chmura, and I am 18 years old. Even though these past four years have been up and down, I am proud to say I am graduating on schedule.

I have always had a hard time keeping up with my schoolwork. So when I started my first year at HHS (Huntley High School) I was soon drowning in homework. Not more than 4 months later, I was expelled. Looking back, getting expelled was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I made a bad decision, and believe me I suffered for it. However, expulsion turned out to be the best thing that could have happened for my high school career at that point. I was failing everything, and when I was at school I was all messed up. I had no other option but to go to Great Expectations (an alternative school). Great Ex was a very unusual school setting. It was in an old run down school in the middle of nowhere. Every kid there had been expelled from their home school, so as you can imagine nobody wanted to be there. I would have to say attending Great Ex definitely encouraged more negative behaviors in everyone that went there. I attended Great Expectations for a year and a half, and it was a pretty easy ride. The work was simple, and I met some really unique people.

At last, after 3 semesters, my expulsion ended and I was able to go back to HHS. Unfortunately, my return to Huntley High School did not go well. I obviously did not think things through and had forgotten how much work those teachers send home with you. Before I knew it, I was failing everything again. Eventually, I was not even attempting to go to class. I had thought about the option of dropping out before, but this was the first time I seriously contemplated doing so. I decided I wanted out. But, before I’d resort to a GED, I wanted to try to find another way to salvage the work I’d already done and earn enough credits for a diploma. I was dead set on homeschooling before I found the Ombudsman website. From what I saw, it looked just right for me. My dad and I set up an appointment. This turned out to be the best decision I made in high school.

For the past 3 semesters, I have attended Ombudsman. I come into school everyday knowing I will get some kind of work done. I was able to start attending school again and to earn all the credits I needed for graduation. I am extremely grateful for that. It is my last week here and I couldn’t be happier to graduate. I truly appreciate all the teachers in my past who have helped me, not to mention my teachers who help me now. It’s very hard for me to believe that this is finally over. Hopefully I’ll soon be onto better things.  As I think about it now, I realize this is only the beginning.

Photo Credit: Sourmash Music


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