Each year, dozens of high school students in Raymondville face difficult situations, that force them to leave school temporarily.
“A lot of our kids have all kinds of obligations,” said Raymondville Options Academic Academy, Frank Garcia. “Whether they’re being young parents. Whether they have to help support their parents by working. Sometimes, it makes it hard for them to attend school on a regular basis,” he added.
After noticing how some of his students were struggling to stay on track with their school credits and not earning a high school diploma, Garcia decided to establish Raymondville Options Academic Academy eight years ago.
Here, students who are highly at risk or dropped out of school temporarily get a second chance to earn a high school diploma.
“I had a bunch of credits missing, because I had two grandfathers that passed away, and I took around three months off from school,” said Sophomore, Patrick Salazar. “So I came here to catch up and stuff, and so far I’ve been pretty good here,” he added.
Other students who have busy schedules take advantage of the flexibility the school has with their schedules.
“I decided to come here so that I can graduate early and I have a daughter so it’s flexible schedules,” said 17-year-old, Natalia De La Paz. “There are less students, so the teachers can work with the students one at the time.”
For teachers and staff at ROAA, getting the students to learn is no problem. The challenge for them is rebuilding the students’ self-esteem.
“Some of our students have not experienced success through their academic career,” said Garcia. “When we established this campus and started bringing these kids in, kids started seeing rewards and things of that nature,” he added,
The school also has construction, electrician, and certified nursing assistance programs so the students can apply for good paying jobs, once they get their diploma.
Since it opened, ROAA has helped more than 100 students get a high school diploma, and continue pursuing a higher education.