Beating the odds and rising to distinction

“This month’s Most Improved Award for math goes to a student who was struggling at first, but he’s been working really hard and even asking for extra homework so he could get the concepts down – this goes out to Michael!” announced Civicorps Math Teacher, Andrew, at a Community Meeting back in February.

Just a month later, Michael was nominated by Civicorps staff as our first ever Corpsmember of the Quarter. Since enrolling at Civicorps, he’s made Honor Society every single term, passed all of his NWEA exams, and earned distinction on his work crew.

The strong and silent type, Michael is known by staff as someone whom they can count on to always act professionally and “get the job done.” Peel back the layers and you’ll find a brilliant, curious mind thirsting for knowledge.

“I’m interested in so many things: psychology, history…I’m still figuring out what I want to study when I go to college,” says Michael.

Planning for college is a long way from where his thoughts were just months ago. He came to Civicorps because he knew that if he didn’t make a change, he would likely face one of two common outcomes for young men in Oakland: dying or going to prison.

“I’m not trying to live that life that I was living before I came here – to be living on the street. Thank God neither of those two things happened before I could come here,” said Michael.

From the ages of 10 to 18, instability at home led Michael to be shuffled among relatives in different states, as far as Pennsylvania and Florida, each time ending in disappointment and upheaval when he would be sent somewhere new. He suffered academically as a result.

“I felt like the other schools I went to didn’t really care what I did once I got there, as long as I came to school,” Michael said. “Eventually I’d just sleep through my alarms and just not go. Civicorps was different though. The support you get here makes you want to come back and do right.”

When asked who his biggest influencer has been, Michael talks about Civicorps’ Dean of Students, Mr. Dunn. “He motivates me to come in and stay on top of everything. He reminds me of my uncle – that tough love style is what I was raised around.”

“I’m really proud of him,” Mr. Dunn said about Michael, “he has had a lot of rough times in his past, but ever since he made a commitment to the program, he’s been an excellent student – he’s had zero write-ups, has earned all kinds of awards, and I’m seeing him develop leadership qualities.”

Michael’s goal is to continue on with Civicorps through an internship when he graduates and to go to college, and we at Civicorps will do everything possible on our end to help him get there.

Donate today to support Michael on his path to graduation!


Filed under: Student Spotlight