One spring day, I was walking with one of our high school seniors back to our space after doing a tour of public art downtown. I had been very concerned about this student graduating and achieving his goals after high school. He had consistently shown ambivalence towards taking the steps needed to ensure he would graduate. Week after week, I would
This student had a lot of barriers to graduation. His mother was very ill and unable to work. His father was living in Juarez, Mexico and he rarely had the opportunity to spend time with him. He was an only child born in Denver, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Juarez. It wasn’t until he dropped out of high school and his father sent him to the US to go to school that the student even considered it important. That spring he had practically given up on high school and any dreams for himself. He believed he needed to drop out of school, take care of his mother, and get a job. He did not receive support from his school and was consistently reminded he was failing his classes.
At PlatteForum, he was an incredibly gifted student but I kept worrying his talent would be lost. We consistently gave him chances to succeed by showing his work at exhibits and having him working closely with master artists. He never missed a day at PlatteForum.
As we walked across the bridge that spring day, I again said, “Hey, how are your plans coming along?” He responded, “I finally figured it out. I am going to do it. I know I’m the only one that can.” I was shocked. This was not what I was expecting him to say. He went on and explained how he realized through his experiences at PlatteForum that he is in charge and no one else can make his dreams come true. He graduated that spring and is now using his creativity and confidence to create a career in culinary arts.