Hello, for confidentiality purposes my name will be Ginger during the duration of this blog post. I am a proud 2023 graduating student from the William Taylor Learning Centre.
My story started at a junior high school unaffiliated with Wood’s Homes and I was described as an impulsive person with some anger issues and had been described as irresponsible with anything. My grades were rarely meeting the level I was capable of and sometimes I was outright failing.
2018 while in grade 9, I got into a fight that got me expelled from my junior high school and I unfortunately ended up with a charge related to this. However, this fight had been a result of many years of bullying and not having many supports to help me deal with this. Anyway, I was out of school for a couple months as the CBE found me a new school to attend. Somewhere in the middle of November of 2018, my parents and I had a meeting at the CBE and It was there I found out that I wasn’t going to a regular school. Rather, something much different. I found out that I was going to William Taylor Learning Centre, a small school that meets the needs of many youth who had similar challenges to me.
A couple weeks later in December 2018, I had my first day with William Taylor in this room called Basecamp. It’s where every new kid goes in their first few days, so the staff get to know you better. There are a lot of differences at William Taylor when comparing it to a normal school. Like dealing with morning searches (luckily, I didn’t have to do this), not being able to have your phone and lots and lots of adults. But we also got hot breakfast and lunch which was pretty cool.
My experience with the staff at William Taylor was good. Even though I was quiet and kind of moody towards people there sometimes, the staff were calm and patient (Most of the time lol) and easy to get along with. As I got to know them and let them into my life a little bit, I realized they could support me in ways that were very different to a regular school.
William Taylor is more of a therapeutic program than a school. Imagine as if it’s a fresh restart to a part of your life that isn’t going as well as you might’ve thought, almost as if William Taylor is a second chance at life.
As I spent more time here and built some maturity and success, I was ready to transition to the next step. So where do kids go when they’re ready for more?
Allow me to introduce you to this place called the Wood’s SAT class, A classroom where Wood’s Homes has a classroom within a regular high school called Central Memorial. The Wood’s SAT class provides so much more flexibility than William Taylor could ever offer. So much room for freedom, so much more opportunity to pursue the future you want to have, so much more space to chase your passions.
However,…I hadn’t always thought this way…In September of 2020 when I came to Central in Grade 10 I was really intimidated by the new routine and responsibility that came with the freedom of leaving William Taylor. Not only that, but Central was in an area of the city that I had absolutely no knowledge of. I had no friends here, I had no reliable connections, it’s so far from any part of the city I’m familiar with, I was lonely. I was clouded with these strange emotions that made me have this false belief that I’d be better off sticking at William Taylor for the rest of my education.
For the entire first semester in grade 10 at Central, I did nothing, and I skipped classes to go on long walks by myself as I thought about many things. I shunned the teachers out of my life and all they want to do is help me. That’s one thing a lot of kids don’t understand, it’s that your staff gets out of bed every day to help you succeed and watch you succeed.
After much reflection during Christmas Break as the 2nd semester started in 2021, On the second day of the 2nd semester I had a long and deep conversation with a couple staff in the SAT class, from then on it only ever went up and I had slowly started to realize in that 2nd semester that this is the right path for me, here’s some examples…
- In grade 10 I achieved a 90% In Film and Media 10
- In Grade 10 I worked for a class 7 driver’s license after 8 excruciating attempts
- In Grade 10 I built social skills I never thought were possible before
- In Grade 10 I met one of the wisest program therapists a child could hope for
- In Grade 10 I had the pleasure of meeting some “veterans” aka students in their last year of school from an era before my own which gave the opportunity to have insight into people wiser than I
- In Grade 11 I wrote an 18-page University grade essay, and I achieved a mark of 90%
- In Grade 11 I made some valuable connections with teachers inside the SAT class
- In Grade 11 I met the smartest family counselor that a child could get
- In Grade 11 I got my first part time job at the Calgary Stampede (2022)
- In Grade 12 I achieved a 95% in Film and Media 20
- In Grade 12 I got a seasonal job during the holiday at Zoo Lights (2022 – 2023)
- In Grade 12 I advocated for an 80% in English 30 -2 (It’s harder than you think)
- In Grade 12 I graduated and achieved a High School Diploma and connections with teachers that’ll be valuable to me for the rest of my life
Not only did Wood’s Homes give me educational opportunities to spread my wings but gave me the confidence to grow as a young adult and in Grade 12 I met a wonderful, patient, passionate person and started dating and we are still together.
The teachers and counselors that you meet along your journey exist to help you become a better person than someone you could ever imagine, listen to the words they say and the advice they give.
If or when you hear of a story of a student with ginger hair who has the same sort of details as this blog, you hear of one of the kids who is a Wood’s Homes success story.