Student Stories

Wisdom M.

“In 10th grade, the bullying at school was so bad it was hard to pay attention. The main reason I’m 20 years old and still in school is that I just sat in class, drawing.”

— Wisdom M., CATC student 2014- 2016 

DSC05181sqYou might not have known it from her grades, but Wisdom has always been studious. She loves to read and the library is her favorite haunt.  School? Not so much. In 10th grade, the bullying at school was so bad, it was hard to pay attention. “The main reason I’m 20 years old and still in school is that I just sat in class, drawing.”

It didn’t help that home life has always been a little unpredictable, too, she says. She and her mom move around a lot and that, she says, “got on my nerves.”

“I was kind of negative about my future, whether I would graduate and what I’d do after school,” she recalls.  Wisdom finally transferred to a different school but had to repeat the 10th grade. She started at CATC, a natural fit given her love of drawing, and the environment there sparked something, she says.  “I saw kids with a good head on their shoulder, doing their work, and knew those were the kind of people I need to be.” She began to face the realities of what it takes to succeed. “I have to actually do the work in order to finish high school, go to college and make it in life,” she observes.

Wisdom tends to be hard on herself, especially when it comes to her art, and she values the encouragement she gets from Mr. Derek. “Sometimes I want to give up and he’ll give me a little nudge,” she says. She was selected to participate in a CATC expedition to Yellowstone, where she learned leadership skills, and not to be as skeptical about other people. She didn’t know the other kids on the trip and thought things wouldn’t go well. But they all became friends and when her fear of heights made her afraid to climb a mountain, they supported and encouraged her. And she did it.

Now, Wisdom reports, her grades are better, she has extra credits from her work at CATC, and school isn’t as frustrating. “Before I was not doing the work and repeating the same two or three classes,” she says.  She accepted an internship at CATC, and that, she says, taught her more about leadership.

Wisdom works part-time now at the same library where she’s always felt at home. Her earlier friends from high school have long since moved on to college or work, and with only three or four classes to complete, she hopes to do the same soon. Her goal? To go on to college, and to be as successful–and as nice, she emphasizes–as the people she looks up to at CATC.