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Dropout prevention program changed his life

May 01, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN, MD. - Several years ago, life wasn't always so good for Aaron Short.

The 26-year-old said he often wouldn't show up for school, and he failed his senior year of high school.

"Throughout my life there were a lot of things I did not think I could do," Short said Wednesday night. "Life is very hard and challenging."

But Short's life took an upswing, he said, when he entered the Washington County Board of Education's Maryland's Tomorrow program, which is now called Encouraging Development & Growth through Education (E.D.G.E.).

The dropout prevention program aims to boost the self-esteem of students who have fallen behind in school, provides career options and works with community agencies to assist students.

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Short told about 100 people, including students and their families, of his experiences with the state-funded program during the 5th Annual Student Recognition Banquet at Washington County Technical High School.

He said the program helped him realize he could achieve his goals and provided him with support while he repeated his senior year.

His participation in the program paid off, fueling his determination to graduate and helping him make the honor roll, he said.

"Being in the program helped me on the honor roll for the first time ever in my life," Short said.

In 1997, he received his diploma and graduated from South Hagerstown High School.

Now, Short works as a full-time mechanic at Southside Bowl Inc. in Hagerstown and also is a volunteer captain for Community Rescue Service, Washington County's most active emergency service provider.

He encouraged students who are in the program to work hard and stay active in the program.

The program "provides support where there might not be any or enhances the ones that are already there," Short said. "The goal is to ... see each and every one of you graduate and get your diploma."

"Stick with it, and the Maryland's Tomorrow program will be there for you," he said.

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