Faces of Mt. Scott
“Faces of Mt. Scott” is a series of short videos spotlighting the amazing students who make up the Mt. Scott community. We invite you to see and hear their inspiring stories
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Travon
Travon grew up fighting for a character he could label as his own. His father was not in the picture and his mother was working constantly to support Travon and his brother.
"As high school came around, my self-image and confidence were so low that I would mirror anybody I thought was popular," says Travon. "And, in my environment, most of those people were in gangs."
"As a student, I was already below average and my work ethic was little to none," recalls Travon. "I didn't know how to ask for help because I never knew I had a voice, or at least one worth being heard. I never believed my ceiling for potential was high until Mt. Scott Learning Center showed me I was standing under the wrong roof, and that my ceiling was higher than that of a sky scraper."
Travon wound up graduating on time from Mt. Scott and is enjoying success attending college, working and traveling, including a three-month study abroad program in India.
"When it comes to finding a career, I want to work with youth who are walking in shoes similar to mine and inspire them like my mentors at Mt. Scott did for me," says Travon. "But I also yearn to travel more. I wish I could have my mind set on just one career, but I think it's because of Mt. Scott that I'm able to dream bigger and see myself doing more than one thing."
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Julante’e
When he was a young child, circumstances forced Julante’e and his sister to be removed from their mother’s care. Soon after that, Julante’e began being bullied at school – a difficult period that lasted almost three years.
“My experience growing up was really hard,” says Julante’e. “Being bullied was tough. I tried to be nice to people, but it just didn’t work out. Even people that didn’t bully me in class would still laugh at me and secretly make fun of me.”
Julante’e later entered high school unsure and nervous.
“I kept thinking what am I going to do if I fail this class and what if I don’t understand stuff the way other people do, and what if people make fun of me for it,” recalls Julante’e. “I was that person that needed extra help and just couldn’t get it or find it (at a big school).”
Julante’e soon became frustrated and depressed, eventually telling himself he was never going to graduate and there was no point in continuing to go to school.
“And then I heard about Mt. Scott, and everything started to change,” says Julante’e. “As soon as I walked in to the school, I could tell it was like a family and that I was really going to love this school. The class sizes were perfect for me and the staff was always going to be available to help me and make sure I was successful”
Today, Julante’e is a senior at Mt. Scott and on track to graduate in June.
“I’m recognizing that I’m graduating and going to college and it’s such an amazing feeling for me and my family,” says Julante’e. “I’ve wanted this for a long time and I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I thank God every day that I found this school.”
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Lily
It was her freshman year of high school and Lily had just moved to a new city and a big new school and didn’t know anyone. “It was scary,” recalls Lily. “There were struggles at home and at school and my grades soon started falling. I felt like nobody cared about me so I didn’t care about myself, and I didn’t care about my education.”
“Transferring to Mt. Scott Learning Center completely changed my view on the education system,” says Lily. “At Mt. Scott, classes are small enough to get the one-on-one time with teachers that is necessary for your success, yet big enough so you don’t feel singled out. Not only has this school helped me develop a newfound love for education, it has helped me learn to love, appreciate and understand my self-worth. I’ve become more comfortable in communicating my struggles and shortcomings and how I feel.
“I’m so thankful to this school because I’ve been able to experience the success I thought I’d never be able to obtain. I just hope many students for many years to come are able to experience the love, comfort and success I’ve had at Mt. Scott.”
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Marcos
Growing up, Marcos never knew his father, and his mother left him at the age of three. Says Marcos, “my grandparents decided to step up and take action and raise me the right away.”
But five years ago, on the verge of entering middle school, Marcos was consumed with anxiety.
“It would get so bad, I’d shake and I’d sweat, and people would notice that and they’d point it out and I’d get angry and my anger issues would come out as well,” recalls Marcos.
His grandparents were concerned about enrolling Marcos in a large public school.
“They knew I wouldn’t last very long,” says Marcos. “They were desperately looking for the right fit for me.”
His grandparents found out about Mt. Scott, and “just entering the building here it felt like coming home,” remembers Marcos. “As soon as I stepped through those doors I felt very welcome. The staff here was fantastic and they were going to make sure I was successful.”
Fast forward five years and the 16-year-old Marcos, now a sophomore at Mt. Scott, is a confident and positive young man with a bright future.
“I’ve gone through a lot in my past and Mt. Scott has helped me overcome many of my challenges,” he says. “No matter what their situation is or struggles are, every student deserves the opportunity to be successful. Mt. Scott has given me that opportunity.”
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Carly Jo Shulikov
Carly Jo Shulikov was in middle school when it became clear why she was struggling to learn in a large traditional school environment.
“I had a very anxious and unstable home life,” recalls Carly. “My parents were both heroin addicts and alcoholics and I had little support around my education. I was beating myself up each night about not comprehending the material taught at school and the focus I wasn’t able to obtain. I needed a place like Mt. Scott.”
Carly came to Mt. Scott her eighth grade year and things began to change.
“Mt. Scott provided me the smaller, quieter environment I needed, with more of a focus on my individual academic success and areas of opportunity,” says Carly. “The curriculum was engaging and I felt connected to adults in my life for the very first time, which was always a personal longing of mine.”
Shortly after graduating from Mt. Scott, Carly began working part-time as a teller at U.S. Bank. Three years later she was promoted to assistant branch manager, a position she has held for almost two years. Her future goals with the company include becoming a district operations manager.
Carly reflects back on her early years, her previous struggles in school, and where her life is today.
“I’m no longer ashamed of where I came from, because where I come from is Mt. Scott,” says Carly. “I was taught the perfect example of the person I wanted to be. I am now a reflection of the staff at Mt. Scott and I couldn’t be more proud, and I hope to teach my children those same values. What Mt. Scott does really matters. It changes lives and it has changed mine.”
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Jerry
Jerry wanted to be the first in his family to graduate from high school. He also wanted to fulfil a promise he made to a mentor that he would pursue a career in law enforcement. But both goals appeared out of reach before Jerry enrolled at Mt. Scott Learning Center. At his previous school, he was failing most of his classes, battling anxiety, and hanging out with the wrong crowd.
“When I came to Mt. Scott I felt I was cared for and seen as someone that had the potential to succeed in life,” says Jerry. “The staff never gave up on me and when I would fall down, the staff was always there to lift me back up and help push me forward towards success. It was a dream come true being able to learn and succeed.”
FACES OF MT. SCOTT: Amanda
Amanda is a 17-year year-old senior who will graduate this year with a Future Connect college scholarship and plans to pursue a career in cosmetology. Her story is representative of many students who tackle significant risk factors outside of school and do not find success at larger, traditional schools.
“I was really struggling my freshman and sophomore years at my previous school,” says Amanda. “I failed some classes, I was bullied and was suffering a lot from depression. I was dealing with some difficult issues with my family and was really in a bad place physically and emotionally. This led me to basically drop out.”
“Then I found Mt. Scott and this school really changed my life in a good way,” recalls Amanda. “The staff here has been so supportive, and I come each day and am welcomed, encouraged and challenged academically. You don’t find this at many schools.”
Amanda is especially appreciative of Mt. Scott’s Transitions Program and its focus on preparing students for success after high school.
“Before Mt. Scott I really didn’t know if I would graduate on time, let alone know what I would or could do after high school,” says Amanda. “But the Transitions Program has really helped me navigate through the system of applying and preparing for college, and exploring careers. I wouldn’t get that support anywhere else and I’m so thankful to Mt. Scott.”