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A Student’s Second Chance

May 19, 2023

A Student’s Second Chance

It’s graduation season and all over the country, at various levels of education, students are celebrating their academic milestones. For many, this moment represents the hard work and personal investment paying off; for others, the completion means a little bit more. For persons who repeated and tried again, completion is a celebration of perseverance. In this week’s look on the bright side, we visited a high school announcing its graduating list.

Sabreena Daly, Reporting

It’s nineteen days until the ceremonial completion of a milestone. Students of E.P. York High School are bracing for the final announcement of the names that will be called on graduation day. It’s a moment that they have all been working towards, but the victory will be sweeter for some. For those who repeated fourth form, this is the moment of redemption. Mishharie Olmedo is one of five students who repeated her last year of high school.  Graduation Day is a few weeks away and she is already counting down to the moment when she will learn if she did enough to make it on the graduating list a second time around. But this year she is more hopeful. Last year, according to Mishharie, she simply gave up.

Mishharie Olmedo

Mishharie Olmedo, Student, Edward P. York High School
“I felt that way because I observed and saw that other people had grades better than mine. Though I did pass the first term, at that point I just felt like the next term will be harder than this because we have a final exam and the third term would be the hardest of the three terms. So I started to doubt my abilities and said that I couldn’t do it, and I just gave up.”

In most cases, shame accompanies failure. It is in those times that moral support is most needed. Guidance counselor, Samson Jacobs shares with us the steps that follow when a student fails their senior year.

Samson Jacobs

Samson Jacobs, School Guidance Counselor,  Edward P. York High School
“My role is to actually call the parents of the students who failed to alert them or to inform them already that their child did not make it on the list, so as to avoid not getting the embarrassment.  And then once they accept the offer being put to them, I meet them at the beginning of the school year because we want to start the early intervention.”

Kadijah Marin

Kadijah Marin, Vice Principal, Edward P. York High School

“One of the first things I must mention is we allow students to repeat based on availability of space, that’s the first thing. All of our forms, we generally keep a pass rate of about 90 to 95% annually.  And we aim for a 90% pass rate each term. And so it’s repeating based on availability. When it comes to fourth form, um, the board has a very big role to play there. They look at students’ performance, of course teachers as well as the principal present each case, to the board. And we look at whether or not the child, you know, really would benefit from being here another year.”

Samson Jacobs

“So she would come, um, and I would check in to see how they’re doing with the good subjects and the weaker subjects. And once they explain to me that they have issues with a particular subject or a particular teacher, I would go to the teachers, um, to check in and to see how I can advocate on their behalf and lobby and that type of thing.”

Mishharie’s friend, Nia Hemsley, gave support and ensured that this time the end would be successful. As anticipation rises for the final announcement, Hemsley says her friend deserves to be on the graduating list.

Nia Hemsley

Nia Hemsley, Friend

“I feel deep down that me and Mishharie will be on the graduation list.”

Sabreena Daly

“Why do you feel so?”
Niah Hemsley

“Because Mishharie has worked very hard through this last year and pushed and did a lot of work, and I believe that she deserves to be the list.”

Mishharie Olmedo
“Um, we went to the counselor, Mr. Jacobs, where he helped us to basically do daily check-ups and see our progress. But as time went by we split up and we made our own friends. It’s our peers in our class who help motivate us.”

It is often said that failure is the blueprint for success. The bumps along the way allow us to grow. But growth only takes place when we dust ourselves off and try again. Failure also makes victory sweeter. After learning Mishharie’s story, we visited the school as the list was revealed. The joy on everyone’s faces is the result of hard work paying off. For Mishharie and every other student who got a second chance, it’s testament that falling, getting back up and trying once more, is the sweetest part of victory.

Looking on the bright side, I’m Sabreena Daly