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More often than it should, the job interfered with my school work

Path To Graduation: Putting Out Fires

Written & Produced By:Nicole Keili, Graduate, Class of October 2015; andLennon Kruckow, Graduate, Class of June 2015 (and current Corning Community College student!)In Partnership With: High School Learning Center at Corning Community College; andCorning-Painted Post Area School District https://wskgyouthvoice.tumblr.com/post/133930529308/alternative-schools-are-a-second-option-for

“One morning in high school, I got called to fight a fire at 4:00AM. The call lasted into the late morning, causing me to be late to school by a few hours," explains Lennon.“I was spending a lot of time working at the fire department while I was in high school. More often than it should, the job interfered with my school work," says Lennon. "Between calls early in the morning or late at night, it would effect my sleep sometimes. But it helped out a lot too, where I was learning things outside of school. It kind of helped me in school to want to push through more.

“I graduated from high school in June of 2015, and I was shocked that I had made it this far," says Lennon.  I was able to graduate because I came to an alternative high school called the High School Learning Center. The frequent run-ins at conventional school made it impossible for me to graduate.”For Lennon, the conventional school system had its ups and downs. One of the biggest challenges Lennon faced was the inequality between the teachers and students. It was especially obvious when he got back from fighting a fire. Lennon had just saved someone’s life, and then he returned to school to be treated like a child.

“A lot of times, one of the big things that bothered me was the teachers treated the high school students as children, more or less," explains Lennon. "Once you get done doing a job at the fire department or working for a railroad or something, and then you come to school and you’re treated like a 5 year-old... It kind of demoted me too, from wanting to work.“Many high schoolers don’t do a lot outside of school, especially if you don’t include sports. I did a lot, and this was often something the teachers didn’t understand or expect," says Lennon. "It was hard working around this because I felt that helping others at the fire department was more of a priority than finishing homework or being on time to school. I never really played any sports or anything of that sort. I just didn’t really have time for it.”At the High School Learning Center, there are two specific differences that mattered to Lennon: The change in attitude of the teachers towards the students and how the school is geared to incorporate outside activities into your learning experience.“The school is based more around working and around being equal. Everyone is kind of the same up here, where as [at the conventional school], the teachers are on a very different level than the students.”  This video was scripted, voiced, recorded and edited by student producers, Nicole Keili and Lennon Kruckow. In partnership with the High School Learning Center, students explore their personal path to graduation while learning production skills from WSKG’s youth media curriculum. American Graduate is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.