American Graduate Champion: Kelly St. Julien

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

kelly_stjulienToday’s Champion is Kelly St. Julien. Kelly is the Hot Spot Coordinator of the Boys & Girls Club of Austin and the Site Director of the Boys & Girls Club East. Kelly is a Champion because he’s been the typical Boys & Girls Club kid. Growing up in Lafayette, LA, the Boys & Girls Club was home away from home — a place where he felt safe. Kelly was able to grow and flourish in this environment where he was given the freedom to explore and build a computer from donated parts and a computer manual he picked up. From there he developed a usage and maintenance policy and ran their computer room once they were able to get more computers. He started running club programs at 14-15 years of age that still run today. Kelly wants his B&G Club kids to be able to experience what he experienced at his hometown club. He wants his kids to find something that they are good at and make the B&G Club “their club” just like Kelly did in his youth. Kelly knows the tough life that some of his club kids come from and has learned that giving children the structured freedom to find something that they excel at in a safe environment is powerful, life-changing and self affirming. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “This position at the Boys & Girls Club is not just a job, it’s a mission and you can hear it in his voice and see it in his face when you get him talking about his dreams and ideas of where he wants to take the club in the future. You cannot help but be inspired!”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Tammy Partridge

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

tammy-partridgeToday’s Champion is Tammy Partridge. Partridge is a 3rd Grade Teacher at Steiner Ranch Elementary. Partridge tries hard to teach her class. Her students believe that she makes learning fun and interesting. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “She is an example of a great teacher.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Rhonda Hauser

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

rhonda-hauserToday’s Champion is Rhonda Hauser. Hauser is the Director of the University of Texas Priscilla Pond Flawn Child & Family Laboratory. She works and interacts with children, parents, college students, staff. Hauser is a champion because she truly lives to help those she works with and beyond. Not only does she come in to contact with children ages 18 mo.- 6 years of age and the parents and caregivers of these children, but day in and day out she mentors those adults that want to learn more about positive guidance in the early childhood space and much more. Many have found in her a true friend, mentor, advocate and role model. She has helped many families with the day to day transitions and struggles of parenting, but has also been there for families who have experienced divorce, death, homelessness, poverty. Rhonda is a Champion because she lives to make a positive impact in the lives of many. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Others would benefit from this because no matter the many different roles Rhonda plays she always puts her best foot forward. Rhonda does not sing her own praises but instead her character and work speak for itself and is demonstrated in the many lives she touches.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

 

American Graduate Champion: Courtney Seals

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

courtney-sealsToday’s Champion is Courtney Seals. Seals is the program director of three Southwest Key Programs that service juvenile justice youth. In her first program she helps to coordinate Enrichment Activities for youth who are being served at a court mandated treatment facility. Her second program is a Youth Mentoring program that looks to link at-risk youth with volunteer mentors in hopes to help the youth successfully complete and transition out of probation, but most importantly for the youth to have a connection to a positive community. Lastly, she works for the Family Keys Program which looks to prevent truant youth from entering the juvenile justice system altogether. She works with her case manager to provide services to the entire family in hopes to re-engage the youth with school and their community. She is one of those service providers that the youth constantly return to for help and advice. She is definitely a champion that deserves recognition! The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “The greatest thing about Courtney is her passion. Anyone that meets her would be inspired by the manner in which she serves the youth. For the youth, to know that there are providers out there that genuinely care and will sacrifice to help them fulfill their dreams and succeed is invaluable.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

 

American Graduate Champion: Cathy Requejo

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

cathy-requejoToday’s Champion is Cathy Requejo.  Requejo is the supervisor for AISD Project HELP  (Homeless Education and Learning Program). Project HELP assists students experiencing homelessness to enroll in school and have access to academic supplies and services to participate and attend school daily. For well over a decade, Requejo has been the bridge between families experiencing homelessness and the school district. She works to ensure that school-age children are cared for and given the full extent of educational services due to them under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, and she works to influence policy that can better serve youth. The recognition letter submitted by the community said:  ”Work with the homeless is by its nature a quiet enterprise but by no means is it easy. Cathy works with families in the midst of turmoil to not only try to secure their basic needs, but to see school as a safe beacon for the kids, and many times for the parents themselves.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Mary Yancy

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

mary-yancyToday’s Champion is Mary Yancy. As a practicing psychologist, Yancy is a staunch advocate for accessible mental health and wellness services for children and their families. She was instrumental in the creation of the Texas Child Study Center, supports the AISD Social Emotional Learning initiative, and currently serves on the advisory boards of the Austin Recovery Council, People’s Community Clinic and Caritas. She has helped wed the longstanding Austin ISD Peer Assistance and Leadership Program with new research and curricula on Socioemotional Learning. Her civic engagements have also included service on education, arts and social service boards including the Texas Book Festival, The Ann Richards School, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, the Seton Fund and Arthouse. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “She knows that the true well-being of youth is based not solely on an academic focus but on a holistic view of development and experience, and she puts her own resources to work to make holistic approaches happen for all of Austin’s youth.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Ivanna Crippa

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

ivanna-crippaToday’s Champion is Ivanna Crippa.  Crippa works at Breakthrough Austin, non-profit organization focused providing a path to college, starting in middle school, for low-income students who will be first-generation college graduates. She is a huge advocate for DACA students and immigrant students, as well. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “There might be one or two people in this world that are more passionate about getting low-income, 1st generation students to and through college, but probably not more than Ivanna Crippa. Ivanna is a 1st generation college student, herself. Her story of being a young Hispanic girl leaving her home in Houston to attend The University of Texas in Austin is one to which many of our students can relate. Her determination and grit as a high school student applying to enough scholarships to cover her cost of attendance is inspirational. Her performance as a college adviser shows she’s leaving a legacy of students breaking the mold and finding their own voice as a college student. Ivanna impowers young hearts and minds, definitely making the world a better place!”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Dr. Paul Cruz

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

paul-cruzToday’s Champion is Dr. Paul Cruz. Cruz is the superintendent for the Austin Independent School District, serving more than 85,000 students and more than 12,000 employees. For more than 28 years, Cruz has worked in education. He has been a teacher, campus administrator and central office administrator in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and south Texas. Dr. Cruz was also a superintendent of schools in Laredo ISD, a district with approximately 23,500 students.The recognition letter submitted by the community said:  ”Dr. Cruz is an inspiration to those of us who have immigrated to this country and who learned English as a second language. He instills pride in being Latino and has a story that motivates us to increase and continue the work ethic that as immigrants we come to this country clinging to.  Dr. Cruz has spent his career listening for and being attentive to the barriers that he has had the control to altar and take away for the families and students in the AISD educational journey. His leadership has allowed for many of these barriers to be removed and he continues to examine and create ways to ‘clear the path’ to graduation for our students and their families in the city of Austin.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Montserrat Garibay

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

montserrat-garibayToday’s Champion is Montserrat Garibay. Garibay, Vice-President of Education Austin, Montserrat is a world-class early childhood teacher, a National Board Certified Teacher, a vigorous proponent for quality education and support for teachers, and a tireless supporter for the right of undocumented youth and their families. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Montserrat has in many ways been living the American Dream, but she’ll be the first to tell you that good things have only come about through struggle. She, her sister, and her mother escaped a treacherous situation in Mexico when she was a little girl, they all lived under fear of deportation as she grew up, but all the while she excelled academically and seized educational opportunity. As an adult, she has been constantly giving back to her society by becoming a top-notch teacher and scholar. With her turn toward policy and civil rights matters, Montse has stepped onto a larger stage but always, her heart and mind remain with those who are growing up in the conditions that she once faced. If we can help those youth and their families live more secure lives, we all benefit from the talents and energy they have to offer.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

 

American Graduate Champion: Alejandro Góngora

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KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

alejandro-gongoraToday’s Champion is Alejandro Góngora. As the principal at Decker Middle School, Góngora provides extra support and encouragement to students. He believes fervently in the power of public education to transform lives and communities, and approaches the craft of teaching with the sense of discipline that is requires, but with an eye toward cultural relevance and fun. As a school leader, his vision of a school as a community grounded in learning and culture permeates campus life. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “Alejandro is a great leader and role model. He has had a long track record of providing challenging, engaging instruction to youth, and of holding all youth to high expectations regardless of their life situations.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.