Student Stories

Stephanie P.

“Before I got to CATC my grades were C’s, D’s and F’s, and now they’re mostly A’s. You guys gave me an opportunity when nobody else did.”

— Stephanie P., CATC student 2011-2013

Hardly anyone knew what Stephanie was going through. She had sought adult help when a family tragedy made living at home unsafe, but nothing changed. Then she, her mom and brother were homeless for awhile.  When she transferred to Dater she kept her troubles to herself.

Somehow Stephanie kept her grades up so she wasn’t behind in credits. Her art teacher at Dater, impressed with Stephanie’s talent in photography, suggested she attend studio classes at CATC to further her skills. CATC is a safe place where kids can talk about things and get help, but Stephanie went to CATC to further her photography skills and that was it.  Why bother sharing when nothing changes?

Stephanie got way more than she expected. “I wasn’t in a good situation when I came to CATC and where I was headed wasn’t the best,” she recalls.   At CATC, she was  amazed by all the opportunities, “so many things to do here that I never had a chance for. But then I went to stained glass, and now it’s my passion.”

With stained glass, Stephanie says, she learned to practice a self discipline that she has transferred to other aspects of her life, including her schoolwork. You have to have patience — or you break the glass! “What I learned with the stained glass kept me on my work at school. If I got upset or thought I couldn’t do it, I pushed and stayed with it, and talked with my teachers more.”

Stephanie never did talk about her frightening past until sharing her story here. She knew that she could–“they really let us know we can talk about anything,” she comments. But it turned out to be enough to have a safe place to go every week, with an opportunity to focus, learn, and practice the kind of skills that make for a successful life.

Before coming to CATC, Stephanie ‘s grades were mostly C’s, Ds and F’s.  Now, she reports, she is getting mostly As. “Now I am going to college because of CATC.  It pushed my life into having a more positive outlook, or I wouldn’t be going to college.”

She’s paying it forward, too. “(CATC) gave me the outlook and courage to help other kids and now I go to other schools and mentor other kids at elementary schools.”