Before Omar Cavazos Jr. enrolled in Premier High School of Palmview in 2012, he felt his high school diploma was out of reach. But finally this, December, at the age of 26, he graduated and started college.
Omar had attended his local high school before dropping out due to bullying. During high school, he developed a rare skin condition that made him a target for ridicule.
“What happened there haunted me, I knew I would never be able to go back,” said Omar.
After several failed attempts to finish his high school diploma, Omar enrolled in Premier High School determined to be successful.
“I was tired of being in limbo. I had tried many online programs to receive my high school diploma and my GED, but I could never get the job done,” said Omar.
Despite the discouraging results from his previous attempts, he knew he needed to graduate if he wanted to pursue a career. Ready to give it a final try, Omar took the recommendation of a friend to enroll at Premier.
“My teachers and the director really helped me. They listened to me and pushed me when I needed it,” said Omar.
Selma Femat, the Campus Director of Premier High School of Palmview, gives the credit to the staff.
“I feel that the caring staff who welcomed Omar, whom I have watched reach out and touch him when others were apprehensive, has been the key to his success. I know that Omar felt at home, loved and even inspired by the staff. Once he started with us, with much tugging and pulling by the afternoon program staff, he began to see that there was hope in graduating,” she said.
The staff cheered Omar on when he struggled or felt discouraged. As Omar began to progress through the program he saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
In his last year at Premier, Omar had some family difficulties and spent some time without a home. These challenges and encouragement of the staff at Premier High School of Palmview strengthened his determination to finish school as soon as possible.
In December, Omar graduated from Premier High School of Palmview. He now attends South Texas College in McAllen, Texas, where he is studying computer maintenance technology.
“Just having the opportunity to come to a school that takes over-age students is an important factor. Creating a small, intimate learning environment helps students feel at home. I believe that we light that fire and ignite the hope that students need,” said Ms. Fermat.
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