Monday, June 06, 2022
When it came time for his high school graduation, Dylan* wanted to really celebrate. He was determined to look the part and do it up, beaming in countless photos with his proud family. Years ago, he would never have imagined he’d receive a diploma. “I’m just a dropout,” he’d think.
Back then, instead of attending class, Dylan often wandered the halls of his public high school. In three years, he hadn’t earned a full course credit. He was often bullied and responded aggressively due to severe anxiety and behavioral disorders that were products of his traumatic childhood. The school, which had 1,000 students, was afraid they couldn’t keep Dylan safe. In short, Dylan was failing, and the school was failing him.
Turning the Page on Self-Doubt
Dylan had written an unproductive narrative about himself, and he was living that role. Dylan needed a smaller setting where individual accommodations and innovative thinking were the norm. He needed The Wediko School, The Home’s private education school that emphasizes relationships over suspensions, with a staff that understands and anticipates emotional triggers. At Wediko, Dylan found an entire building full of adults he could rely on, ones who don’t believe in “bad kids.”
Dylan worked on his anxiety, began to take an interest in class and started collecting the credits needed to graduate. To his clinicians’ amazement, he even attended a college fair, although he generally avoided crowds. He began to see himself as a success. No one in Dylan’s family had graduated from high school, yet he began imagining himself working in a field that required a diploma. Then he earned one.
*The student’s name has been changed for privacy.