By Linda Hou, Miami 2007
Originally published in The Central High Times.
The many students who returned to Central after dropping out came back with different reasons and motives.
For sophomore Laura Franklin, coming back was what she always wanted.
“I never really wanted to dropout. It was my only alternative,” Franklin said. Franklin dropped out of Hillcrest last year because she and her friend Kelsey felt threatened by another group of students.
“They were threatening and calling us names,” Franklin said, “The day we dropped out, some girl punched …[Kelsey], and the teacher didn’t do anything about it.”
Senior Lucas Boston is just her opposite. He returned to school so he can date his girlfriend, Leslie Loomis.
“My girlfriend’s parents told me I have to have a diploma to date their daughter.” Boston said. Boston says he would still rather have a job than go to school.
Unlike Boston, others are tired of trying to find a job without a diploma.
“I basically tried the job situation and I couldn’t handle it without an education,” senior Robert Howser said. Howser originally quit school because of problems with the Parkview administration.
“I couldn’t handle the principals telling me what to do and trying to take things from me and not giving it back and threatening to call the cops,” Howser said.
After dropping out, Howser held two different jobs positions and decided to come back when he got fired for sitting at the wrong spot.
To help students like Howser, Central asks returning students to complete a four-day “New Student Orientation Program” before receiving their schedules. Through this program, returning students try to readjust to the school environment by participating in several activities. This year, 45 students took part in these activities, which ranged from taking pictures of the students’ lives on day one to conferencing with a Central adult on day four.
“We try to figure out what didn’t work out last time and what we can do better. We try to make school better for you,” school clinician Ken Kabonic said. Kabonic is in charge of the orientation program.
Even though he did not go through the program, Howser still finds school easier.
“It’s a lot harder than what I expected it to be,” Howser said, “but it’s also easier. You get more help than what you bargained for.” Howser said that this improvement was also due to his new attitude at school.
“I knew if I straightened up, I’ll be able to understand better,” Howser said.
Starting over isn’t always easy, especially if you are a teenager. Yet for the students who came back to school, starting over is exactly what they had to do.