Desi is a junior at Helensview High School and part of the first cohort of students in the PDX Bridge program. She is 17-years-old and on track to graduate this spring – one year early. Although she is doing quite well in school these days, Desi’s educational goals and expectations have changed dramatically over the last few years. Throughout middle school and her first year of high school, Desi was uninterested in her education. In a large school, it was very easy for her to skip class without anyone noticing, and she often did just that. As a result of judgement that she felt from others, Desi became discouraged and lost confidence in her abilities. In her words, she didn’t allow herself to shine.
In her sophomore year of high school, this outlook changed when she began attending a smaller school where she felt seen and supported. Teachers and people around her were very supportive and Desi started to believe in herself again. From there she skyrocketed and began wanting more; once she realized that she could do well in school, she found that she wanted to try harder. She asked family members and people in her school to hold her to her newfound expectations and to keeping pushing her in the best way that they could.
When her college success coach, Geoffrey Garner, told her about the PDX Bridge, Desi was excited. “It’s free and I can get college credit while still in high school? Who wouldn’t take this?!” Desi signed up for the program right away. Desi responded with a resounding “Absolutely!” when asked if her involvement in PDX Bridge has changed her outlook on education. Although initially nervous about starting her college career, she now feels confident in her ability to be a successful college student.
Desi credits PDX Bridge for its unique offering to youth who are affected by poverty, homelessness, and otherwise rough backgrounds. “These are usually the kids who the general populace doesn’t expect to do this kind of thing.” The homework load is kept at a manageable level for students who are still in high school, and instructors are willing to work with the students’ individual needs. Desi has been promoting PDX Bridge to anyone who would listen, including her teachers, principal, and other students. Not only has it been great for her, she has seen how helpful it is for other students.
Desi’s plans for the next few years include the start of her college career. She is excited to take the opportunity in college to explore her interests and potential future careers. On March 15 at Noon, Desi will join two fellow PDX Bridge students at GtCNN’s Gateway Gathering to share the story of her educational journey. Register for the event and join us for what promises to be an inspirational Gateway Gathering!