On Thursday, June 9th, 25 students will graduate with their high school diplomas–one step closer to achieving the goals they set out for themselves when they began their Civicorps journey. Read the stories of five of our soon-to-be graduating students below as they reflect on their time at the Corps.
I always thought I was different from everybody, as far as my attitude went. I was a loose cannon. My attitude was horrible, especially with supervisors and some corpsmembers. That’s what made me feel different. I kind of felt like I was getting ganged up on. But when I saw that my sister [who also went to Civicorps] and the other corpsmembers had some of the same problems, it opened my eyes. I saw that it wasn’t just me. Now when I get constructive criticism from others, I can try to do it their way–especially if they’re my supervisor. I learned that if your teacher or school is saying something, then you might want to listen.
I want to go to school to obtain my bachelor’s and get my master’s in business because it’s well needed in the community, especially with me being African American. While I’m in school, I want to work in construction or landscaping.
Someday, I want to open up a shelter, for people who are homeless and on drugs, that will give them the keys to overcome their trials and tribulations, and after they overcome that, then they’ll still be able to get a job from us at the shelter. Kind of like Civicorps, but for older people. Reach one teach one. That’s what I’m about. If everybody could have that type of mindset, I feel like the world would be a whole lot better.
The most valuable part of the Civicorps experience was just getting my high school diploma and showing myself that I can get what I want if I work hard at it. My graduation will mean a lot for my family because all together, my mom has five kids and the three oldest (me, my brother and my sister) all dropped out, and the two youngest are currently still in school. My mom is really proud that I found time to get my high school diploma.
I’ll miss the Civicorps environment. It’s a safe, calm environment. I started Civicorps back in February of last year and that’s around the time I found out I was pregnant, so I was going to school and going to work while I was pregnant, up until the day the baby was born. It was hard, but the staff members and corpsmembers were here to support me and push me all the way through.
I’m currently doing a recycling internship, and then eventually, I’m going to get my commercial driver’s license and take a union position with Waste Management or Fed Ex as a driver.
I love the staff here, everyone’s nice. And it’s just a good environment here. Natasha (Lead
Counselor) has been a really valuable resource for me. She was always my go-to person whenever I needed something or if I ever wanted to talk.
I feel more confident in getting jobs now that I’ll have my diploma. I feel that some people turned me down (in the past) because I didn’t have my paper, but I feel like I’m qualified now.
My baby is due the day after graduation. After I graduate, I’m mostly going to be taking care of my baby boy. And then once I get settled, I want to enroll in college. I want to eventually become a baker and start a patisserie business that creates novelty desserts for parties. I’ve already been making desserts for family members’ special occasions, like cake balls and dipped strawberries, and people would often say they’re really cute and I realized I could start charging for them.
The biggest challenge for me was transitioning from the school side to the work side, because you have to be here 30 minutes earlier and I had to take three buses to get here. I was mainly worried about whether the bus drivers were going to be on time because they’re strict here with the schedules. What really kept me going is just picturing where I wanted to be. I would wake up and say to myself ‘Okay, I know I have to do all this work’ but I’d just picture graduating and being finished every day in the morning when the alarm would go off.
After I graduate I want to do park maintenance work–the same type of jobs we’ve been doing at the Corps–so that it’ll be easier to find a job. And then once I’m in there I want to take a couple of classes at Laney for mechanical engineering. I want to be able to work on cars, trucks, and any type of vehicle.
I’ll miss a lot of things about Civicorps. I’ll miss how people were constantly motivating each other. It was nice getting awards. When you’re coming from schools that don’t give you any recognition, it kind of throws you off. So to be able to come to community meetings (general weekly student and staff meetings) and to be able to be able to stand out and be recognized for my work definitely kept me going.
Graduating has been hard. I’ve been trying to graduate for 4 or 5 years. One day I woke up and was like ‘You can’t keep playing with this. You’ve just gotta get it out of the way.’ My housing situation, what I had going on at home and in the streets, made it difficult to complete the program at times. But then I went to my brother’s graduation and my brother is 5 years younger than me and that’s when I woke up and said ‘I’ve gotta graduate. My baby brother is graduating before me.’ He really inspired me to finish.
After I graduate, I’d like to go to school and find a job–hopefully with a union. My dream is to own my own home.
I’m going to miss my supervisors, my teachers, my peers, everything. I learned everything here. I love Civicorps!