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Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014

Bryan R. is going places

Bryan R. is a self-confident 15 year-old Berkshire Sr. High School 10th grader. In the classroom, Bryan is immersed in the same courses as students in any other school, but outside of school he faces some notable challenges.

“When I first came to Berkshire, I was defiant, and I guess I wasn’t very motivated. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere in life and I wasn’t happy about it,” said Bryan. “It wasn’t easy at first, and I didn’t cooperate much.”

Then something changed. . . Bryan doesn’t point to a single defining moment, but he started seeing life and school differently. “I started to see that the teachers and counselors here really did care about me and what happened to me,” he said. “I figured out that they actually were helping me, so I decided to do what I was supposed to do and start changing my life. Now, I’m feeling happier; I’m more motivated, and I have more energy.”

Bryan makes good use of that energy. In addition to the usual classes in school, Bryan is enrolled in the World of Work (WOW) curriculum, a credit-bearing course designed to help students acquire the 10 most marketable workplace readiness skills. Students learn how to complete a job application, write a résumé, prepare for job interviews, and much more, all aimed at helping them enter and succeed in the workplace.Bryan R. at the Garden Sale

After school, he spends time working at Berkshire’s greenhouses and animal areas. As part of Bryan’s responsibilities in his paid work experience in Berkshire’s Workforce Development Program, Bryan feeds the farm’s livestock and then tends the plants in the greenhouses. The plants are sold in Berkshire’s annual Garden Sale. In the photo at right, Bryan stopped just long enough for us to take the picture. Bryan is productive, a point of genuine pride and satisfaction.

Rather than spend his pay, Bryan is saving most of it. “I want to use it to go on a hunting trip in Alaska with my father,” he explains. His hard work might help that happen in a few years.

Beyond school and work, Bryan volunteers for Habitat for Humanity in the community. He says he wants to become a building contractor someday.

Bryan has found purpose in life now, and he is certainly looking ahead. He also has some advice for the other youth at Berkshire. “Stay on track,” he says. “You can better your life here.”

Read more about this year's Garden Sale here >>

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