Student Stories

Rolando R.

“I was still stuck in being a kid, but I had to find places to live, food, whatever… CATC helped me with getting credits and keeping me away from stuff I’m not supposed to do, like drugs and street stuff.

— Rolando R., CATC student 2014-2015

It’s every kid’s nightmare. The day he turned 18 his parents’ marriage broke up, and Rolando was on his own.  “I was still stuck in being a kid, but I had to find places to live, food, whatever,” he says. He had friends and family members who would give him a place to sleep some nights, or he’d go to a shelter, but it was night-to-night.

Rolando grew up fast–and missed about a year and a half of school.  Then, a chance.  His girlfriend’s family said he could live with them, but only if he got a job and returned to school. So he did. First, he landed a job at one of the most popular restaurants in town, where the maturity he was forced to acquire a little early and his good nature have made for steady employment and appreciation by his employers.

He went back to school, too, but there are challenges for an older student. He is working online toward his diploma.  He also started at CATC in hopes of earning more credits, faster.  “What’s putting pressure on me is getting off work at 12 or one in the morning, then getting up at six to go to school,” he says.

But he’s making good progress. “CATC helped me with getting credits and keeping me away from stuff I’m not supposed to do, like drugs and street stuff.” At CATC, he likes being around others who want to go to school and succeed, and teachers who care and are helpful, like Mr. Scott.  And Mr. Matthew, who pulls him out of class routinely to “make sure everything is going right with my living arrangements,” and also has put him in touch with Cincinnati Cooks, since he is interested in culinary school.

It’s not easy, going to school, working, and taking classes at CATC. But Rolando says his grades have gone from failing to passing, “and now I’m on the list to graduate, maybe by May. If I graduate high school, I’ll be the first in my family,” he says proudly.