Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2003
Students get their act together
Wahkotowin Society honours native students
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"I decided that I didn't need any drugs or alcohol to have fun."
- Kyle Lawrence
"At this rate he will have all his (high school) diploma requirements by the end of next year," said Pocher. "Obviously motivation is not a problem."
In the future, Lawrence hopes to pursue a career as a firefighter. "With his physical strength, positive attitude, intelligence and perseverance he will definitely achieve that goal," Pocher said.
"I'm really happy to be recognized this way," Lawrence told the WCR after the award. "I didn't think I would win anything. I'm really honoured."
Lawrence, who manages to hold a part time job while attending school, credited the good atmosphere at Fresh Start and the support and encouragement from his teachers for his success. The program is known for giving struggling teens a second chance and for trying to meet the students' needs that are not being met at home.
Pocher also credited Lawrence's mother Julie, who was present at the award ceremony, for guiding the teen at home. "I'm sure such a fine young man does not happen without guidance and a helping hand at home," she said. Julie has four other children she is raising on her own. Kyle, the oldest, has at times had to assume adult responsibilities to help his family, which has affected his performance at school.
Two years ago the teen was struggling to complete Grade 10 student at Jasper Place School. Six months into the school year he realized he wasn't going to make it. He and his friends hardly attended classes. Sometimes they went to school but would stay in the hallways socializing or making trouble.
Other times they would pretend to go to school but would go somewhere else to smoke marijuana or drink alcohol or both. "I used to drink a lot," he recalled. "All my friends were doing it; basically I did it to fit in."
Jasper Place School tried to help the teen but he didn't attend enough classes to complete any credits. When Lawrence broke the terms of his probation - namely attending regularly and completing assignments - he was kicked out. This led to some hard thinking on the teen's part.
"I decided that I didn't need any drugs or alcohol to have fun," he told the WCR. "Now I just drink once in a while, on social occasions."
Lawrence is now determined to complete his high school and says he will try his best to fulfill his dream of becoming a firefighter. And Julie, his mother, is betting that he will achieve his goal. "He's always been a go-getter; I'm sure he will succeed," she said. "I'm very proud of him."
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