Opportunity Youth Academy(OYA) is a program offering students the chance to obtain their high school diploma if they disengaged from a traditional high school. This program offers both online and teacher-directed lessons, to allow more responsibility for the students. Due to the environment that the hybrid program offers, students often benefit from on-site tutors as they can guide them through the online portion of the curriculum. One of our tutors, Michelle Valerio, was able to positively influence numerous students, yet she had a unique experience with one student specifically.

She describes her experience as, ” going into the Opportunity Youth Academy (OYA) program, I was a little apprehensive. Regardless of the experience I have working with students, there is always that adjustment period as I try to break the ice, but it was nice to get to know the students as I helped them in their schoolwork. While working at the Sobrato site for the program, I had the opportunity to work with Alexandria, who was a senior at the time. Alexandria was a few credits away from graduating and needed help staying on task so she could finish her assignments by the deadline to graduate that winter. As I helped her in English, brainstorming ideas for essays, and reading passages to answer questions, we discussed our favorite books and sports we played in school. I also shared my experience as a transfer student when I learned Alexandria wanted to transfer to Cal Poly to major in Music. Upon the completion of the program, I felt great knowing I made a difference in OYA’s students’ academic life.”

Michelle was able to leave a lasting impression on the students that she helped, but those students left a lasting impression on her as well. The difference she made in those students’ lives did not go unnoticed, and we appreciate your work, Michelle!