“We Can Help You”
Asia* came to us when she was a 17-year-old student who attended a local school near Midlands Middle College (MMC). She had also taken classes at an alternative program as well as adult education.
Two teachers from MMC met with a counselor at the local school who said, “I have a student enrolled here who I don’t think will graduate. She has had a lot of problems and her teachers here can’t get anything out of her. Plus, she has encountered some legal trouble and has been thrown out of every program we have sent her to, so I don’t expect you could really help her.”
One of the MMC teachers replied, “I can’t promise we can help, but we can talk to her and do our best.” The counselor walked out of the meeting and returned with Asia, leaving the teachers to meet with her privately. They weren’t sure what to expect as Asia explained that all she wanted was to graduate so she could have a good job and a better life. She said that even her name made teachers think bad things about her, as her brother had gotten into trouble as well. She admitted she had been “reckless” in the past, but that she really wanted to change.
Looking into the eyes of one of the teachers, Asia pleaded, “Will you help me?”
The immediate response was “We can help you.” Countless students have found success at MMC after years of struggling in traditional schools, so the teachers recommended that Asia enroll. Initially, she didn’t have transportation to the school and she lives in Columbia, a fair distance from MMC. Realizing this was a major obstacle, the MMC staff helped her get a bus pass and learn the route for the COMET, the public bus that travels to Midlands Technical College Airport campus from downtown Columbia.
Today, Asia is a model student and a leader amongst her peers at MMC. Every day she carries a sheet of paper with the numbers 1-24 written on it, as 24 is the number of credits she needs to receive a high school diploma. She is taking many facilitated learning classes and is finishing them at an unbelievable rate. And every time she finishes a class, she scratches out a number on her sheet of paper.
Nearly all of those numbers are gone, as Asia is on track to graduate from MMC in May 2018.
*Name has been changed but this inspiring story is true.