Troubled teen saved by school

September 13, 2011 2:23:19 PM PDT
For children, the path to success is not always easy or clear.

A local teenager got a new start thanks to his school.

Joseph Bryant was not always happy in a classroom.

"Every day it became a habit for me to cut out of school," Bryant said, "I just didn't want to go to school, 'cause there was nothing there for me. That's what I believed."

But Joseph changed his attitude after enrolling at North Queens Community High School which is among the city's so-called transfer schools.

"We have provided a school for kids who may not otherwise have graduated from high school at all," said Winston McCarthy, the principal.

Joseph and the other 200 students get individual counseling in their academics and in their lives.

"Everything I'm getting in this school is exactly what I wanted," Bryant said.

Transfer schools are seen as a last chance for students to earn their high school diploma, but educators and students here see this school as an opportunity.

The students arrive with issues: everything from chronic truancy to substance abuse to teen parenthood.

The school is a partnership between the Department of Education and the Social Service Agency, S.C.O. Family of Services.

"The one thing I think that is important for all of our students to know is that we want this to be a place where they can feel successful. We don't want them to repeat what they had done in high school," said Lainey Collins, Social Services Director.

Even though Joseph is a special education student, challenged in the learning process, he will graduate this year, with hopes of going to college.

"I believe that if I go to college, I not only will get my, the future that I want, but I can at least prove something and know who I am in the world," Bryant said.