April 13, 2016 By:Hunter Watson
- Parker Kehret
Sometimes dropout students are not aware and don’t realize that there is more to their future.
“ Any students that are dropped from McNary High School or that are teen parents, I hunt them down,” said Aloha Yoshinaga, the graduation coach here at McNary, who was once a teacher.
Although she enjoyed being a teacher once, she would not trade being the graduation coach for anything.
“ I love this job, more than what I used to do,” Yoshinaga said.
It’s been already a year and six months that Yoshinaga has had this job.
“ I love giving students hope and encouraging them,” Yoshinaga said.
Yoshinaga doesn’t just call up students and try convincing them to come back to McNary and expect for them to give it a try. She also will be willing to travel to the student’s homes, have a talk, and go on from there.
According to Yoshinaga most of these students have behavior issues, problems at home, and many other circumstances surrounding them keep the bad influences near them.
It is Yoshinaga’s job to let them know that there is still hope for students. Yoshinaga said there is only so much that she can do, she can’t force students to make the choices she thinks are best for them.
Students then have to make their own choice.
“Most of these students have no idea they have other ways to graduate, but I have to make sure they have a good reading score,” Yoshinaga said.
Yoshinaga said that her way of convincing these students is to first build a relationship with them. To encourage them is the next step, then to start talking about the options there are for them.
All the options they have will be for what they would want in life.
The program’s there are for these students each have their own criteria.
Students are shown these programs to see what they are most interested in.
When a student is shown all the programs available Yoshinaga always tells them that either they make this happen, or they go back to the drawing board where there aren’t many options left.
“There was this one student who actually gave it a try, I asked him what made him change his mind. Well he said, “ I want my kids to have what I couldn’t have”,” said Yoshinaga.
Truancy is something else Yoshinaga dedicates to.
Her job is to come up with plans how these students will come back to school.
“The goal is to make the graduation rate increase and the dropout rate decrease,” Yoshinaga said.
Although that’s the goal, she said that the branches to this goal are more meaningful itself.
Although Yoshinaga talks to 20-80 students a month, the number of the students that come back is a lot lower.
“The fact that they come back but do not stay is the bigger issue,” she added.
Unfortunately many don’t succeed.
“I’d take this job any day. I will keep encouraging them, only as close as it gets,” Yoshinaga said.