Working with the students of Howard has been quite an experience. They all come from different backgrounds yet, they all have the same goal: to succeed in life. Likewise, although most of them face a language barrier, they have been able to progress on their assignments with help. Sometimes it becomes a challenge to get them motivated, and it is at times like this that I have to place myself in their shoes and think back on my high school experience.
I had the opportunity to connect with one of the girls from the program who ultimately wants to become a nurse. She expressed that she wants to begin to working to earn money for college. I advised her that one of the best things she could do is to focus on school make good grades and be involved with her community. Through this, she would gain different experiences, meet new people and even help herself in the future to pay off college. Programs like Bridges to Success 2.0 give students that experience and tools they can use to get where they wish to be in life. It challenges the students on an academic level as well as personally.
Boris Aparicio has been a great instructor who has really taken the time to get to know his students and has encouraged them through each step of the way. He has made extra efforts to assure that the students have what they need to be able to get through the courses. I too have gained experience and knowledge through helping with this program. Although I have worked with younger kids in the past, I found working with teens is very different. Initially the students can be very shy, but once comfortable, very outgoing. They have taught me to become more confidant in myself in situations where I had to take control and become authoritative. Overall, the program is great in building opportunities for immigrant students who otherwise may not have ever thought of doing something like this. With the support of great leaders and mentors, the Bridges to Success 2.0 program and our community can only continue to become better, because we are helping build the future.
Mariana Hernandez is a Teaching Assistant and student mentor at The Howard School’s Bridges to Success 2.0 program. This program is a partnership between TCAT, Chattanooga State Community College, and the Hamilton County Department of Education. During their junior and senior years of high school, a cohort of 17 ELL students complete a Computer Support Technician Training course allowing them to graduate with an industry credential. Bridges to Success 2.0 is just one of many programs in alignment with the Chattanooga 2.0 urgent strategies to prepare all students in Hamilton County for college and career.