My Family Always Had To Struggle

“I’m looking forward to a better life. My family has always had to struggle for food, a place to live…everything.”  – Helana

   Helana used to doubt her potential. She felt like she wasn’t good enough to go to school. She didn’t aspire to graduate or go to college. She was going to figure out a way to make a living off whatever job she could find.

   She skipped so much school that she was put on probation. The judge sent her to Ingham Academy, a day treatment program and alternative school for court adjudicated youth that is operated by Ingham County Circuit Court, Ingham Intermediate School District, Peckham, and Highfields. 

   When Helana first found out she was being sent to Ingham Academy, she cried.

   “I knew it was going to be hard coming to a new school,” said Helana. “I knew I couldn’t have a lock on my locker, no cell phone…my privacy was gone.”

   At first she still had trouble coming to school and argued with her Probation Officer a lot. However, after a rough beginning, Helana finally started changing her attitude.

   “I just kind of snapped out of it,” she said. “I realized that there was nothing else I could do except try. It seemed to get a whole lot better from there.”

   With the support of her teachers and Highfields’ behavioral specialists, Helana was able to stay in school and focus on her classes. She went from 9th grade to 11th grade in one year!

   She also started working at Peckham on the Special Projects Floor. She checks the equipment and merchandise they put out and is also responsible for training other students.

   “Ingham Academy has improved my GPA, my mindset, and my whole life,” she said. “It happened so fast, I’m stunned!”

   Without the support of Ingham Academy and Highfields, Helana thinks she would have dropped out of high school, jobless and struggling.  Now her sights are set on college and making a better life for herself and her family.

   “I see my future being so much brighter than what I used to,” she said. “Ingham Academy helped me do that.”


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