Every year Communities In Schools of Atlanta has the opportunity to recognize students who have overcome some of life’s most difficult obstacles. These students demonstrated significant improvements throughout the school year, reached for success no matter their struggles and exceeded expectations in scholastic performance. This year five deserving students were chosen as winners for their commitments to choosing success and attended the CIS of Atlanta’s annual Choose Success Awards Dinner on March 15th. Many students were nominated to win the Choose Success Awards, but these five were the best of the best.
Samya from F.L Stanton Elementary is a bright young lady and has high hopes for the future. As the youngest winner of the Choose Success Award, she is an example of reaching success during hard times. Last year Samya attended 4 different elementary schools, causing her to fall behind in her studies. After arriving at Stanton Elementary, Samya was placed with a site coordinator, Ms. Cauthen. Ms. Cauthen went to work to figure out how to help stabilize the home and assist Samya and her family. Today, Samya’s absences and grades have improved significantly.
Santino represents for the guys as a Choose Success winner this year. As a student at Brown Middle School, he struggled with his temper and anger outbursts. After getting involved with CIS of Atlanta, Mr. White (site coordinator) met with his mom and came up with an action plan to help him be successful. They created a support team to help him during the day and he made tremendous improvements. Santino’s own words about his future: “I want to start an organization that helps feeds the homeless. Everyone struggles in life and needs help.”
Victoria, a student at Charles R. Drew High School, is a model student. On the surface she has good grades, is smart, ambitious and goal-driven. Behind the scenes, however, her life has a different narrative. For the last three years Victoria faced the challenges of a lack of family financial stability. She also endured a life altering car accident that jeopardized her academic standing. CIS of Atlanta came in to help her and her family get back on their feet. Victoria now has plans to continue her education and join the Air Force.
My’Yelle is a resilient young lady. She currently attends Creekside High School, but she hasn’t always lived in Atlanta. My’Yelle and her family were displaced during Hurricane Katrina and had a hard time recovering. When she arrived at Creekside she had a very tough exterior. Since being added to the CIS of Atlanta caseload, My’Yelle’s grades have improved and she has been present nearly 95% of the time at school. She also takes part in several groups at school and volunteers at Children’s Health Care on a regular basis.
Rounding out this bright bunch is Maia, a graduating senior from Jackson High School. Before coming on caseload, Maia was doing the bare minimum. She didn’t think she could or should do more. After meeting regularly with her site coordinator, Maia realized her full potential. This year she has made tremendous improvement in her grades and attendance. She went from a C average to a high B average and cut her absences down by 75%. She also plans to attend college and become a veterinarian.
CIS of Atlanta is proud of the improvements and accomplishments these students have made. Their growth is evidence that putting site coordinators in schools is the way to build strong relationships with students. These relationships shape identities, help repair homes and empower students to be the best that they can be.
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