The Dropout Report: Faces of the dropout problem

Local high school students share their education experiences, as well as their recommendations for helping others like them succeed in school.



Sedrick Campbell, 18

Will Rogers High School

My problem: My problems started when I moved from Ohio. I got down here in the eighth grade. I used to get in trouble a lot, and I ended up fighting a teacher. I got held back, and then my freshman year I went to Edison. I’d get suspended every time I came back. I moved back to Ohio. That’s when I dropped out. I was out of school for, like, the entire first semester of my sophomore year. Then I moved back down here and started going to Rogers and ever since then I haven’t been suspended. I’ve been in no trouble.

My experience: It (the school) got me in sports. I’m one of the top college recruits for football and track. Then, the teachers, they love you a lot, so they try to keep you on the right path.

My recommendation: Don’t do it (drop out). It’s really not worth it. Without that high school diploma, you can’t get a good job at all, and if you’re out in the streets, you’ll get arrested. Convicted felons really can’t get a good job.

Margo Arellano, 15

Union Alternative Junior High School

My problem: I started here because when I was in seventh grade, I always got into fights … I really liked going to school, but (it was) just to fight. I wouldn’t really do my work, and if I did, it was only in one subject.

My experience: Before I started, I was in a gang. I wasn’t actually in it, but I got involved in it. When I started here, I still didn’t care. I really didn’t do my work. I would give all the teachers attitude, and my teachers tell me now that they knew that they saw potential in me, and they knew that I was going to be stronger than that. That’s why they kept pushing me to do this and that, and that’s why they were so hard on me. As the months passed, I started to change in a good way. I was back to my old self — my sweet self. I started respecting the teachers more and I didn’t give them attitude, and I started doing my work. They were like, “See, I knew you could do it,” and it’s really changed me with my family because once, when I started getting in trouble, I really wasn’t that close to my mom. We would always fight all the time, and now that I’m in here, my mom and I are, like, best friends, and it’s really cool.

My recommendation: I’ve had friends in the past that wanted to drop out because they hate school and they hate doing the work because their teachers really don’t pay attention. Here, your teachers give you all the attention that you want. 

Katherine Jones, 17

Union Alternative High School

My problem: I got in the middle of my ninth-grade year and I didn’t ever go (to Union Intermediate High School). I live right by the I-High, so I’d walk home every day… I didn’t want to drop out, but I didn’t like the I-High.

My experience: I like how you’re in (a class) for a month at a time instead of one hour a day, and then you don’t have homework and you get all the work done. You learn more, too … And I like the 10-minute break because, after a while, you get tired of working.

My recommendation: I would tell them (potential dropouts) to try alternative. Give it a try. They’ll probably like it.

Jennifer Sottnik, 18

Union Alternative High School

My problem: I was into the first week or two of my sophomore year and kind of got into some problems with some girls there … I was out of school for about seven months.

My experience: All the teachers are great, and they know you and they care about you. They actually get to know you as a person and not just as their student. We’re all like family here, and everyone knows each other.

My recommendation: Definitely check (Union Alternative High School) out. Come and talk to Mr. Storm or even just come up here and talk to Amber, the receptionist. She’s very nice. And just look around; look into the program. They have forums for kids … Before, when I was going to get in, my mom was the one who told me I should try it, and then my dad thought, “It’s just where they put bad kids.” He listened in the forums and he was like, “This sounds like a really good school.” My dad loves the school now.

Daisy Scott, 17

Jenks Alternative Center

My problem: Hardly anything worked out there (Jenks’ Freshman Academy). I was doing really badly. I was failing a lot of classes … It was very impersonal, and there were a lot of other issues and other drama that was a lot easier to pay attention to than the schoolwork … When I lived in Connecticut, I went to a really small school and then I came here. I was just at the Freshman Academy and I was like, “This is only freshmen?” I really think it was just shock of the big school that started my downhill fall.

My experience: It’s really fun, it’s really relaxed and obviously it’s way smaller. We’ve got this hallway rather than all the buildings. I’ve really pulled my grades up. They were all D’s and now I think I got one B (and the rest A’s). It was more personal. Everyone knew everyone, and you could go to any one of the teachers. You didn’t have to go to the guidance counselor if you had a problem. Anyone was willing to take time out of their day to talk to you. It’s really cool. It’s more like family than a school.

My recommendation: I say, just try something else when you think you have no other options, you want to drop out and you really don’t feel like anyone’s there you know. There’s always a place you can go. This was mine. Everyone has to find their own.

 

Quenisha Pierson, 18

Will Rogers High School

My problem: (School) was getting hard and especially because I’ve got a kid. Staying up with him, trying to do schoolwork, not wanting to get up in the morning — it’s just hard. And then he’s got bronchitis and asthma, so he’s always sick.

My experience: It helped me a lot. The people that go here like Ms. Reynolds, Mr. Burr, Ms. Piper, they’ve been there since day one and they help me throughout. And I think if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting right here. I’d be dropped out because I wouldn’t care. But they’d be telling me, “Hang in there, it’s coming, the time is here …” Every day somebody is always telling me something nice.

My recommendation: Just stay in school. Stick it out. I mean, there’s drama everywhere, but stick it out.

Cameron Mason, 19

Jenks Alternative Center

My problem: I just had a lot of problems whenever I moved to Tulsa because I didn’t have any friends or anything. I had a lot of anxiety problems. There were plenty of options, but we looked at the Alternative Center. We figured it was probably the best thing for me at the time.

My experience: It’s opened up a lot of opportunities I wouldn’t have ever had over at the high school. … Going over to the high school, I didn’t even really think about going to college, and coming over here, I’ve done a complete 180. I want to go to college. I’m trying to start a little business-type thing. It’s incredible.

My recommendation: Definitely check into an alternative center because it’s not for druggies and dropouts. 
 

Rochelle Battiest, 16

Will Rogers High School

My problem: People used to mess with me, and then I used to get in physical confrontations with people. I just wanted to drop out, and I was at TAC (Tulsa Academic Center) for six months. And that was hard, too. I didn’t like it there.

My experience: The teachers are good teachers. They’re nice. They really help you a lot.

My recommendation: Don’t do it (drop out). It’s really not worth it. You won’t get anywhere in life.

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August 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Telephone: (405) 236-3100
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Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

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Tulsa, OK


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Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
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View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

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Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

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Cost: $1+

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More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

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Cost: $15

Where:
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415 Couch Drive
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View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
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