Student Stories

Makala K.

“I just knew I was going to be a dropout. And this year I’m graduating and going to college!”

— Makala K., CATC student 2014-2015 

“I just knew I was going to be a dropout, and this year I’m graduating and going to college!” says Makala, who accuses herself of having been lazy as a freshmen and sophomore, failing in school. Plus, her father  had returned after many years, but he kept disappearing, which “messed with me emotionally.”

The social worker at CATC helped with Makala’s relationship with her mom, whom Makala had been blaming, and that made things easier at home.  “I could talk with her (the social worker) about anything, spill all my feelings and she seemed like a friend.”

Ms. Laura and Mr. Ryan talked to her about college, asked her how things were in school, “showed they cared and thought I had potential to do more than I was doing.”  Makala and her mom thought a GED would be her only route to graduation,  “but CATC told me how much more I could do with a diploma. Out of nowhere I started to think ‘I don’t want to be a failure when I grow up.'”

Makala’s talent in photography and digital multi-media blossomed, as “CATC showed me how to use Photo Shop, how to take photos from different angles, and gave me ideas if I was stumped on what to do.” People bought her work at CATC student shows, and CATC founder Lee Carter offered to help introduce her to opportunities in the community. “He told me I have a gift, don’t ever give up on it!” Mr. Ryan introduced her to Art Works, helped her apply and provided a reference. “I was so happy. I worked on FotoFocus, and now my photos are around town” at bus stops and other places, “my name on them along with other people I worked with.”

Makala’s grades went from Fs to As and Bs, she reports, and she continued earning credits. “People here (at CATC) would say ‘you only need three more credits,’ then two, then just half.”  Makala expects to graduate this spring and has been accepted at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. “Now my dream is to be a famous fine art photographer. I want to take pictures that make people stop and think, like WOW!”