Ray didn’t always see the point of going to school, and the large class sizes distracted him, so he fell behind in credits. That changed when he enrolled in the New Beginning School for young men, a program of The Center in partnership with the Rochester City School District (RCSD).
Ray, 18, was better able to focus on his future “mostly because of small classes, less distractions and more help from the teachers,” he says.
RCSD teachers deliver classroom instruction while Center for Youth staff provides social-emotional support and prevention education and job-readiness workshops. The combination is helping more male students to earn their diplomas. Six New Beginning seniors graduated this year, and Ray is on track to be among the class of 2016.
“It feels better to do work and know that I’m graduating, going to go to college and pursuing what I want to do,” says Ray.
With encouragement from the New Beginning School and his aunt – who Ray says is “very proud” – his sights are now set on a career in cartoon animation or graphic design.