'Gateway to College' program helps struggling students earn their diploma

Posted at 2:30 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 15:30:20-04

In just about two weeks, kids will head back to school.

But for some, the traditional classroom isn't a good fit.

Many times students can struggle with social anxiety sickness or other problems that leave the path to a high school diploma  less than ideal choice.

But one program in the metro is offering students an alternative.

Lexie Shockley was running out of hope.

"I was at that point where everyday day I would drive up to school and I would call my mom in the parking lot and say Mom, I don't think I can do it again and she'd say okay come home  I'll call.  she knew," she said. 

She had big dreams to be a forensics psychologist-

But-her struggles with school and social anxiety were getting in the way. 

"You know you can't go to UNO, a nice university - the only one I can go to for forensics- you can't get there without a high school diploma-you can't get there without going to school." She said. 

Lexie isn't an isolated case.

Many students struggle with social anxiety, sickness or other problems that leave the traditional path to a high school diploma.

A less than ideal  fit.  

Samantha Leach was one of those students that struggled. 

" I came from a really small school in 8th grade - with four graduating kids and then I got thrown into a school at Central with 400 kids and then 4,000 kids in the whole school," She said,

"So it was something I didn't enjoy just because I didn't know anyone and I was kinda by myself  eventually I fell into the wrong crowd - and I just didn't want to learn I didn't want to do anything"

That is where the Gateway to College program at Metro Community College fits in.

It's one of several programs in the area offering young people  between the ages of 16 - 20  a way to earn their high school diploma in an environment that adjusts to their needs.

Will Smith, a Gateway Resource Specialist explains. 

"Students come to us for numerous reasons, health reasons, anxiety reasons or just not getting along with the students in their settings so the gateway to college program really just gives the students the opportunity to truly engulf themselves into the program and allow themselves to be successful in an educational setting," he said.

That setting includes smaller classes more one on one interaction  and a resource specialist  ready to help 

“I felt like I had the proper help I needed to succeed- so it made me want to go further. I was a C student. Now I get straight A's,” Shockley said.

And the story isn't that different for others.

Adam Peterson found gateway after sickness and medical problems left his quest for  a high school diploma - sidelined.

"I started at Westside Middle School and then my first semester at Westside High School, I got so sick so I was about a year behind at that point, He said.

Peterson said he really didn't see the path forward at that point  but the program helped him get on track.

The Gateway to College program does more than get young minds back on track

It also offers a free scholarship program  and lets students earn college credits , giving them a leg up for the future.

 Gateway is still accepting enrollment for the fall semester until September 6th.

 There are free information sessions every Friday at 9am and noon.

For more information on the program, click here.