Quiet Heroes and Evidence that Public Education Works

posted May 24, 2012, 7:17 AM by mpaskewicz@nvps.net   [ updated May 24, 2012, 7:17 AM ]
Melanie graduates from East Campus High School tonight, May 24, 2012.  She and the staff at East Campus are examples of one of our core beliefs - "we believe people working together toward common goals can accomplish anything."

Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent

Dear Dr. Paskewicz,
My name is Melanie, I am currently a senior at Northview East Campus. Before transferring to Northview, I attended Comstock Park High School . At Comstock Park I was a good student, maintaining about a B average in my classes (about a 3.2 GPA), and was by no means a student that people would consider in need of “alternative education.” During my sophomore year I became pregnant with my daughter Aria, I was only 15 years old. It was at this young age that I was faced with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of graduating high school as a teenage mother.
I am writing in regards to the Northview East Campus program, and how it helped me to reach my goal of attaining a high school diploma an entire year early. I never could have done it if it weren’t for this amazing school. East Campus provided everything I needed to graduate; including childcare, great teachers, and what I would call a “tight-knit community.”
As a teen mother, having the ability to afford full-time childcare is nearly impossible. Northview East Campus provided daycare right at the school, and at no cost. The daycare is more than I ever could have asked for, it provided my daughter with a safe environment and the social interaction that she needed to develop correctly, and it provided me with the opportunity to achieve my high school diploma. I truly believe that Carole Verlin is the most caring and compassionate woman I have ever met and loved my child as if she were her own. She guided and taught me to be the absolute best mother I could be. It is partially because of her that I have grown into a caring and responsible young woman and mother. My daughter has also come to love Carole. The mothers in the daycare all help each other as best they can and provide great advice to each other. Everyone treated everyone else’s children the exact way that they wanted their child to be treated. There is absolutely no other place that I would ever want to take my daughter for childcare.
The teachers at East Campus are all great. They treat all of the students as if they are at a regular high school, instead of an alternative high school. They challenge students and always expect them to meet, and exceed, their expectations. I would like to recognize one teacher in particular, and that teacher is Mrs. Jean Peck. Throughout my year at Northview, she supported me and motivated me to get the best education I could possibly get. Despite the daily disrespect and back-talk from students, I believe that Mrs. Peck is an extremely strong woman and loves both her job, and each and every kid at this school. No matter what, she always strives to push each student to do their best every day, and doesn’t see failure as an option for anyone. She is always offering students opportunities to learn and improve. She not only loves her job, but she is also great at it. With her as my teacher, my English score on the ACT drastically improved. I went from a  26 to a 32, a full 6 points. I cannot even describe her excitement when she learned of the scores I received. This showed me that she was not just interested in doing her job and getting paid, but that she truly cared about me as a person and my education. In my honest opinion, Mrs. Peck is by far the greatest English teacher I have ever had, and has helped me more than anyone to succeed.
When I came to Northview East Campus I was convinced that there was no way that I could ever fit in and that I would go the whole year without any friends or anyone to talk to. However, I could not have been more wrong. On my first day of school here, I was immediately greeted with friendly faces. Here at East Campus, everyone helps everyone. Whether it is with a project or setting up a basketball hoop, I always see people cooperating with and helping others. I think of East Campus as a kind of close-knit community, where, even though not everyone may be the same, everyone still respects each other and treats each other as friends. I have never seen this type of community-like atmosphere at any high school, and I’m sure I never will anywhere besides Northview East Campus.
Today, I am 16 years old and graduating high school in less than a month. I am finishing with a GPA of about 3.45 and a cumulative ACT score of 28. I have been accepted to Grand Valley State University and will be attending in the fall of 2012. I have tons of ambition for my future, and I hope to one day become an Oncologist and help victims of cancer overcome this terrible disease, and possibly even help work toward a cure. There is no way I could have done it if it weren’t for Northview East Campus, and I thank you for having such a great program available. I know that each and every student that attends this school, no matter what the circumstances, will be granted a second opportunity for success. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this; I hope that it has given you a better understanding of just how great Northview East Campus and all of its staff and students truly are.