From Truant to Leader
Numerous undocumented doctor’s notes combined with his teacher’s unawareness of his epilepsy created a school environment in which Kevin felt out of place and like a failure due to his absence.
At the beginning of high school Kevin was unable to prioritize his attendance and education, working late into the night as a janitor and waking up many mornings to epileptic convulsions. Numerous undocumented doctor’s notes combined with his teacher’s unawareness of his epilepsy created a school environment in which Kevin felt out of place and like a failure due to his absence. Despite the threat of truancy, Kevin continued to fall behind in school. However, Kevin’s trajectory changed when he was introduced to Communities In Schools site coordinator Alejandro.
Alejandro brought Kevin to a group called XY Zone: a 3-tiered program for young men of color that focuses on emotional growth and leadership skills. Once a shy boy with very low self-esteem, Kevin became an integral part of the group. He began talking with conviction to his peers and showcased his growth by leading their service learning project. With his extensive hours working as a night janitor elsewhere, Kevin witnessed the lack of appreciation the members of the custodial team at the school received. Thus, for their service learning project he proposed a custodial and cafeteria employee appreciation month to the group. Kevin took on a dynamic role, filling the month by highlighting fun facts about the staff members along with hosting a dinner for them.
Kevin used the power of his relationship with Alejandro to build other relationships. Alejandro became a voice for Kevin at school. He went directly to Kevin’s teachers and helped them to understand why Kevin was consistently absent, ensuring that Kevin was always equipped with a doctor’s notes when returning to school following an epileptic episode. Once the teachers were informed, they allowed Kevin to take most of his classes online and checked in on him often to give support. This increased Kevin’s flexibility as well as alleviated a lot of the pressure that he felt, putting him on the track to graduation.
With Communities In Schools and Alejandro’s support, Kevin no longer feels behind or out of place at school. He has begun to take initiative, staying after school and building better relationships with his teachers. In the future, Kevin has plans to attend his local community college, and dreams of one day owning a restaurant with his twin brother.