As a young student, 14 years of age, I would never have thought to check into the accreditation of the alternative high school I was going to attend. Why would the thought have ever crossed my mind? I just assumed The Garden School, or Crossroads Academy, was an excellent choice. I had the opportunity to learn at my own pace, take the classes through CMC that I was interested in, and graduate a year early.
Now 10 years later, I wish I had. I graduated a year early (2003) and thought I did the smart thing by jumping into the workforce and the real world. I have been an ironworker and certified welder since completing high school. But, being a woman in a male-dominated field and with the economy going to hell, I figured this would be a great opportunity to go back and further my education. I have found an excellent university that would help me to do so by offering online courses to get my bachelor’s degree in psychology.
So imagine my disappointment when, after being completely enrolled, having all my financial aid in place, I send the university a copy of my high school diploma to find out I qualify as a high school dropout. I sat on the phone this morning in complete shock and disbelief as my counselor told me that my diploma’s not registered with the department of education. Even though I completed the 3,200 hours required by the state, and I did it with honors.
I had a million questions running through my mind as I rushed off to the wonderful Garden School to talk to the director, Mr. Miller. Once seated in front of him all I could manage to say was, “Why isn’t my diploma good anywhere?” He proceeded to inform my mother and me that the Garden School is not accredited with the Department of Education nor do they wish to be.
So now my questions have changed. Why would a “school” not seek out the appropriate state approval? Why should I have to go and get my GED when I have completed all the hours and requirements for the state? How many other students are or will be in my position when they decide to go to college?
Well, I can’t answer any of the questions above. But I can write this letter to try and better inform students and parents who are planning on attending the Garden School, or who already have. So here it is, my letter. Although this doesn’t fully express my disappointment in the Garden School. I sure hope it does get the message across, how important it is to do research and find an accredited high school.
These simple little actions were done and appreciated:
• showing respect to your elders.
• giving a simple “thank you” for someone’s actions.
• asking, “Can I help you,” when someone needed some help.
• “opening a door” (of any kind) for someone in need.
• showing compassion, and respect to all, no matter who they are, or when in need.
Remember: By helping others, you will receive their respect.
Karma does exist.
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