July 12, 2012
*By Maria Montoya, testing specialist at SIATech at the Inland Empire Job Corps Center *
When we lose something, our nature is to recover it, even if that means going through tough times or struggles. Robin Matthews had lost a dream she once had. Like many high school dropouts, her dream was to continue her education. Job Corps in partnership with SIATech offers that chance to recover that dream to high school dropouts. Robin wrote an essay entitled, "How Job Corps Changed My Life." She talks about how as a young girl she imagined herself going to college, starting her own business, getting married, having children, and buying a house. However that dream was lost between the ages of 17 and 21. She became a high school dropout and was working two jobs. Struggling with the reality of her life Robin decided to attend Job Corps. All the trainees that come to Job Corps without a high school diploma or GED can choose to enroll in the SIATech high school program here in the Inland Empire Center. Robin was one of them. She had no GED or high school diploma. So, she worked on our labs for a short period until she obtained her GED. That short period of time was enough to leave a good impression with her teachers.
These are some comments by Gerald Hagan, the former English ITA: "Robin Mathews was really great in High School English. She was very respectful and also very hardworking. With the amazing personality she has, Robin can accomplish anything in her life."
Eric Wilhite, Social Studies ITA, commented that Robin was "always displaying a willingness to learn new things and receive new ideas."
I personally met Robin in our afterschool program working on an essay. I was able to perceive her confidence and hunger for education. Then I would see Robin coming and going from college.
I recently saw Robin featured in a Job Corps Assembly. She was being awarded with the MTC (Management and Training Corporation) Scholar of the Year Award for the Western Region. With tears on her eyes, she received the award and thanked Job Corps for their support and helping her recover her vision.
Robin gave this advice to trainees: "Believe in yourself first. Don't wait for anyone else to believe in you."
There is no doubt in my mind that Robin will reach all her dreams she had before she became a high school dropout. Robin continues to pursue her high school diploma at SIATech.
Robin Mathews is a great example of the definition of recovery: the regaining of something lost or taken away. She regained her confidence, her inner strength, but most of all her dream.
SIATech (pronounced SIGH-a-tek) is an award-winning network of charter schools focused on dropout recovery. SIATech is a WASC-accredited high school that operates in partnership with the federal Job Corps and Workforce Investment Act programs on eight campuses throughout California. The school serves 100% low-income and previously out-of-school youth. SIATech excels at identifying student strengths and individualizing instruction to meet each student's needs and goals. The school's safe and caring setting enables students to take charge of their learning and obtain the tools they need for lifetime success, whether it is at their chosen career or further education. For more information on SIATech, watch this short video or visit the SIATech website.