MSLC Graduate Spotlights

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: CARLY JO SHULIKOV

Carly Jo Shulikov was in middle school when it became clear why she was struggling to learn in a large traditional school environment.

“I had a very anxious and unstable home life,” recalls Carly. “My parents were both heroin addicts and alcoholics and I had little support around my education. I was beating myself up each night about not comprehending the material taught at school and the focus I wasn’t able to obtain. I needed a place like Mt. Scott.”

Carly came to Mt. Scott her eighth grade year and things began to change.

“Mt. Scott provided me the smaller, quieter environment I needed, with more of a focus on my individual academic success and areas of opportunity,” says Carly. “I discovered the meaning of self-awareness and for the first time in my life I felt empowered and connected to my education. The curriculum was engaging and I felt connected to adults in my life for the very first time, which was always a personal longing of mine.”

The Mt. Scott community helped Carly succeed not only academically but personally and professionally as well. She found her voice. She was no longer the struggling student she once was. She was now the self-assured, confident young woman she had always hoped to be.

Shortly after graduating from Mt. Scott, Carly began working part-time as a teller at U.S. Bank. Three years later she was promoted to assistant branch manager, a position she has held for almost two years. Her future goals with the company include becoming a district operations manager.

“I love my job,’ says Carly. “I love being the face of the company and helping change clients’ lives financially and make some of their dreams come true.”
Carly reflects back on her early years, her previous struggles in school, and where her life is today.

“I’m no longer ashamed of where I came from, because where I come from is Mt. Scott,” says Carly. “I was taught the perfect example of the person I wanted to be. I am now a reflection of the staff at Mt. Scott and I couldn’t be more proud, and I hope to teach my children those same values. What Mt. Scott does really matters. It changes lives and it has changed mine.”

Posted: Fall 2015

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: TRAVON

Travon grew up without a father in his life, battled the influence of gangs, encountered difficult living situations, and struggled at his previous school.

But thanks to a supportive mother and the assistance of Mt. Scott Learning Center, Travon is experiencing success.  He graduated this year – on time – as a Future Connect Scholar and is headed for college and a promising future.

“Mt. Scott helped me find a balance between my home life and school,” says Travon. “The transition into Mt. Scott from bigger schools put me at ease. The small community here gave me the opportunity to connect with students and teachers while providing access to resources. This also helped me build confidence and gave me a space to express myself.”

“I really don’t feel like I would have received this in a bigger learning environment,” adds Travon. “Being able to have bonds with teachers has empowered me to be confident while working towards my own success.”

His growing confidence also empowered Travon to apply and be accepted to travel and study abroad through the Carpe Mundi program. The three-month service-oriented study program allows students to travel abroad while earning college credit through Portland State University. Travon’s destination options for international travel and study this winter include Africa, India, South America, Central America and Southeast Asia.

“I never would have grown and matured as much as I have – and have been exposed to so many great opportunities – if it weren’t for Mt. Scott,” says Travon. “This school changed my life.”

Posted: Fall 2015

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: FRANK

After an unsuccessful freshman year at a large traditional high school, Frank enrolled at Mt. Scott Learning Center with the goal of turning things around academically.

The transition, however, was anything but easy.

Frank admits he was very disruptive his first few months at Mt. Scott.  His anger, anxiety and apathy often resulted in confrontations with fellow students and staff.  His attendance was poor and he was failing classes.

I was at a point where I didn’t really care about school and would do almost anything to get sent home,” says Frank. “There were struggles at home and I had a lot of anger and anxiety. And I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.

 Despite the rough start, Frank soon learned going to Mt. Scott was more than just trying to “catch up.” The staff’s support for Frank was not just for the short-term, but for the long-term. “The staff was pretty clear that they were committed to not letting me fail,” recalls Frank.  “After my first year at Mt. Scott, I was enjoying school again and getting back on track to graduate.

But halfway through his sophomore year, two of Frank’s close family members died suddenly. The experience was devastating for Frank.

It was definitely the hardest thing I had dealt with in my life,” says Frank.  “If I had been attending any school other than Mt. Scott, I probably would have dropped out. But with the support of the Mt. Scott staff, I was able to work through that very difficult time. They showed me they cared about me not only as a student, but as a person. It was that unconditional support for me and my family that got me through high school.

By his last two years at Mt. Scott, Frank was passing all classes and providing school-wide mentorship and leadership. He was participating in a variety of Mt. Scott’s extracurricular opportunities, receiving valuable experiential learning outside the traditional classroom. The experiences helped reinforce Frank’s determination that attending a traditional college following graduation was not the post-secondary path he wanted to take.

I needed something that was more hands-on learning, and Mt. Scott encouraged and supported me in that decision,” says Frank.  “Through the Mt. Scott Transitions Program, I was also presented with several non-traditional options for post-secondary education. Getting involved in an apprenticeship program seemed like a good fit.

Frank eventually connected with Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. and landed a four-year apprenticeship program. The program provides full-time, on-the-job training with contractor sponsors, as well as classroom training through the Northwest College of Construction. Frank’s contractor sponsor is Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.  Upon completion of the apprenticeship program’s requirements, Frank will be a certified journeyman for the sheet metal trade.

Frank enjoys his work and is excited about his future. And despite a very busy schedule, he routinely volunteers in various capacities, eagerly contributing his time and resources to help others.

Lots of people are afraid to ask for help, and I know what it’s like to go through difficult times and think no one can help you,” says Frank.  “Everyone needs support in some way, and the support my family and I have received from Mt. Scott has been amazing. If someone can use my help, I want to be there for them."

Posted: Winter 2015

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: Taylor

Taylor was having a rough time her sophomore year at a larger traditional school. She made some poor decisions, fell behind in her grades, and was close to dropping out. “I had always been a good student, so my poor grades and my lack of attendance was a shock to everyone,” remembers Taylor. “My mom heard about Mt. Scott Learning Center and suggested I try and get back on track there.”

Taylor thought she would only be at MSLC a short time, but she began to thrive at her new school and stayed at MSLC to get her diploma. “The staff at Mt. Scott pushed me to be the best student and person I could be,” says Taylor. “They taught me valuable life skills that have helped me be successful in college and in life. The teachers gave me the educational curriculum necessary to be fully prepared for college courses.”

Taylor will graduate this year from Oregon State University with a degree in Human Development and Family Science with a focus in Public Health. While currently completing her final quarter at OSU, Taylor is volunteering at a HeadStart program.

Posted: Fall 2013

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: Jazmin

At the age of three, Jazmin no longer had a mother in her life and grew up with a supportive single father who worked two jobs to raise his young daughter. Jazmin struggled at times not having someone at home and admits she made some self-destructive decisions growing up and becoming independent.

Her time in high school began at a large traditional school, where soon she was bullied and began getting in trouble. She skipped school, got into fights, and was failing her classes.

“I desperately wanted to make a change and make a whole new person of myself, where I could make my dad proud of me,” says Jazmin. “I got into my last fight at my old school and that was where enough was enough for my dad and me.”

Jazmin eventually landed at Mt. Scott Learning Center.

“I immediately felt safe, supported and at home when I arrived at Mt. Scott.” recalls Jazmin. “Instead of fighting with others I fought with myself to change my old habits. With the help of the teachers and counselors, I began making improvements in my grades, and graduation was starting to become an option for me. I didn’t have to hide anymore because I was free to finally develop into the person I could be.”

Jazmin also immersed herself in a variety of the extracurricular offerings available to her at Mt. Scott, including creative writing workshops, service learning projects, and an international program that took her to Thailand during the summer.

But what brought her the most joy in high school was standing next to her dad at graduation holding her high school diploma. “The struggles of the past were all worth it seeing the smile on his face that day,” says Jazmin.

Jazmin is now completing her second year at Portland Community College with a 3.78 grade point average and is well on her way to her goal of becoming a radiologist. Her interest in civics and making a difference led to her current internship in Salem with State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer. Jazmin also finds time to teach a class to Oregon residents preparing for their citizenship exam.

“I am proud of my success in college and love the person I have become since discovering Mt. Scott Learning Center,” says Jazmin. “I thank Mt. Scott for giving me a chance to thrive and for starting that motivation to reach my dreams. This school changed my life.”

Posted: Winter 2014

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: Alvin

Alvin’s story is a testimony to the power of determination and a stable, supportive environment.

Growing up, Alvin moved around to many homes, struggling to maintain focus and feeling unwelcome wherever he went. He attended a traditional public high school, but like many youth that are “survivors” or are still working through difficult life situations, Alvin could not find success. He dropped out and was disengaged with school. When he discovered Mt. Scott Learning Center, Alvin was behind in academic credits and not on a path to graduate on time with his four-year cohort. He lacked supportive relationships with family and friends. And he was homeless.

At MSLC, Alvin found some stability and was able to re-engage in his academic experience through positive relationships with teachers and peers, and through a relevant and challenging curriculum. He joined every extracurricular program he could get involved with, maintained a high grade point average, and became a student leader. He also was connected with outside resources to address risk factors threatening his academic success.

Alvin managed to graduate on time, receive financial grants for post-secondary pursuits, and moved on to attending college. He is currently completing his associate’s degree and has already enrolled at a four-year university. He works two jobs, owns a house, and is about to travel abroad to East Africa (Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda) on a fully-funded grant program. He is planning on pursuing majors in business and permaculture, and is clearly motivated to make a positive difference in the world.

Alvin recently returned to MSLC to speak to students in the Senior Transitions class. He shared his story and encouraged students to take advantage of all the opportunities and support available to them through MSLC. “I definitely would not be on the positive path I’m on without the support I’ve received at and through Mt. Scott,” says Alvin. “In many ways, this school has saved my life.”

Posted: Winter 2014

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: Kahlie

Kahlie was attending a private school when one of her parents suddenly passed away. “I found it difficult to balance school life and home life and was told I could not graduate on time and would have to repeat my junior year,” remembers Kahlie. “But I was determined not to let this experience stop me from achieving my dream of becoming a teacher.”

Kahlie enrolled at MSLC and began to thrive in her new school. With the help of her MSLC teachers, she was granted scholarships and other financial aid, was accepted to the University of Oregon, and graduated from high school on time.

“Mt. Scott helps students like me that may be hurt, troubled or on the edge,” says Kahlie. “Students that might be obstinate, difficult or failing somewhere else.  At Mt. Scott, these students have a chance to be insightful and intelligent. They have a chance to succeed.”

Since starting her freshman year at the U of O this fall, Kahlie has also begun peer mentoring middle school students and helping them with their academic goals. She is enjoying her challenging college course load that includes psychology, anthropology, philosophy and education issues. And she is well on her way to realizing her dream of becoming a teacher.

Posted: Fall 2013

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: Mat

Mat came to Mt. Scott Learning Center in the spring of his 8th grade year and had struggled with peers and behaviorally in his other school settings. He became part of MSLC’s four-year cohort when he began the 9th grade in 2008-2009 and graduated on time in 2012.

During Mat's final year at MSLC he received the Future Connect Scholarship and a full Pell Grant for Portland Community College PCC). He had a focused direction for the automotive technician program at PCC, but the transition was not seamless. During Mat's freshman year at PCC he was required to take the pre-requisite courses needed before the automotive classes he wanted. For some students, this creates a reason to stop attending or give up, but Mat stayed committed to his goal. He is now in the automotive program and his college success coaches are pleased with his progress.

“Mt. Scott provided me with the opportunity to achieve a diploma and get into college,” says Mat. The staff there showed me how to move past problems and keep working harder towards my goals. Most of all they taught me how to never give up on my dreams, which enabled me to successfully start the automotive program at PCC.”

Posted: Winter 2014

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: Jil

Jil says it’s difficult not to tear up when she explains to friends and family what Mt. Scott Learning Center means to her.

“Before Mt. Scott, I was in a major depressive state and failing miserably at my previous school,” recalls Jil. “None of my teachers cared about me or my grades, and I often thought, ‘so why should I?’ They treated me like a burden and quickly grew tired of my ‘laziness.’ All they saw was someone bringing down their test scores.”

“When I entered Mt. Scott mid-year as a sophomore, I was initially put off by the amount of attention I got every single day,” remembers Jil. “As far as I knew, teachers weren't supposed to care about you like that. But to this day, that's the only way I can think to definitively describe the Mt. Scott staff: they care.”

“Not only do they care about you inside the classroom, whether or not you're succeeding and understanding the material, but they care about your home situation and what's going on in your life,” continues Jil. “These are undeniable factors in a child's educational experience, and Mt. Scott really understands that. For the first time in my life, I felt supported 100 percent, and in my two and a half years at MSLC, not once did that feeling waver.”

Jil admits she was told at her previous school it would be a miracle if she was able to graduate only one year after her class. But last June she walked across the stage, having graduated a half year early. She received a Future Connect Scholarship and is currently attending Portland Community College before transferring to Portland State University.

“At Mt. Scott, never have the words ‘community’ and ‘family by choice’ described so much,” says Jil. “I truly believe I would not be where I am today without this school.”

Posted: Winter 2014

MSLC Graduate Spotlight: DeeDee

DeeDee enrolled at Mt. Scott Learning Center as a 10th grade student with less than three academic credits. As a result, she was not on track to graduate on time as part of a four-year cohort.

After arriving at MSLC, DeeDee passed classes, participated in credit retrieval activities, and became a student leader. She wound up graduating on time last June and worked during the summer as a camp counselor for the Audubon Society.

After receiving grants and the Future Connect Scholarship, DeeDee enrolled at Portland Community College and was later accepted to be dually enrolled at Portland State University. She will soon travel to East Africa on a three-month study abroad program through the Carpe Mundi organization.

“If it weren’t for Mt. Scott I would not have graduated and be proud of the person I have become,” says DeeDee. “Mt. Scott is my home, my family and the most amazing thing that has happened in my life.  I previously influenced myself with negative things and was going downhill. But the staff at Mt. Scott brought me back up with unconditional love and support.”

Posted: Winter 2014