Student of the Month
At the School District we are privileged with the responsibility of helping thousands of students reach their goals. Every so often we come across a student who already knows where they’re going, and can clearly articulate how we can help them get there faster and better. Jerusha is precisely that student, and her positivity and enthusiasm are clear from the first introduction.
Jerusha’s family immigrated here five years ago from Pakistan, and have been very happy with their move, especially because of the wealth of educational opportunities and flexibility that Jerusha now has. An example – a high school change from George Washington to Excel South, which allowed Jerusha to delve into educational programming that more closely matched her goals. When she started at Washington HS, she was quickly recognized for her good grades and her innate ability to counsel people through challenges and build bridges between those who are different. She was on track to take legal prerequisites for a career as a lawyer but in speaking with the principal, her ambition and drive led to a recommendation to consider Excel’s accelerated program. “I’m so grateful that they helped me make the move here, since I could graduate early and that helped me get to my goal of joining the United States Air Force”, she remembers. “The principal gave me this choice. So initially it was about accelerating but it turned out to be a really good idea for so many other reasons”
Excel is a traditional 400-student Opportunity Network high school that partners with the District but follows the same curriculum. The school supports students who need to make up time or otherwise consolidate their high school degree into a shorter time frame. “We’ve set up our schedule like a college, so each year is organized into two semesters, and we use an accelerated model so students here can earn up to 10 credits a year vs. 6-7 at most other high schools. Those are transferable too, should a student decide to matriculate into another school”, said Jarrad Muller, Executive Director at Excel.
Mr. Muller, who made it clear he was representing the entire staff’s adoration of Jerusha, couldn’t say enough about her outstanding personality, dedication and commitment. “Putting in the efforts to do the work, to conquer the language barrier, to get through the pandemic and her own personal life… She’s just done a great job getting to that next level. Her smile and attitude makes everyone here feel the worth of what we’re doing. If I could have 400 of her I’d take them all!”.
For her part, Jerusha feels the same way about the teachers at Excel, repeating how dedicated and supportive and positive her experience has been there. She feels she’s come a long way, and promises “Once I get my (Air Force) uniform, the first place I’m coming is here, to show everyone that if you put the effort in, you can do anything.”