From disappointment to triumph: Depression, isolation, and heartbreak are transformed through the district’s YES program
Raven Delgado’s father called her a disappointment.
It hurt, a lot, but Raven, 19, believes the barb was one of the keys to getting her high school diploma.
Raven dropped out of Moffat County High School as a freshman. She didn’t like the students, and she was scared of the teachers, and that was a culmination of a lifetime of bullying. She was quiet and shy and didn’t get along with others. She was awkward in public and didn’t know how to start conversations. It was a personality that bullies eat for breakfast, she now admits.
“The few times I would talk to people, they just bullied me and acted like I had nothing in common with them,” Raven said. “They told me I didn’t belong there.”
She spent her freshman and sophomore years, if you can call them that, driving to Steamboat, smoking pot and listening to her father tell her she wouldn’t amount to anything. But that changed with a job she got at 17 at a conveinence store.
“I had to talk to people,” Raven said, “and that helped a lot. Now I can start a conversation with anyone.”
She discovered that she had a long bout with depression, brought on by her parents’ divorce, her isolation from others and her own breakup with a guy she was dating for two years.
She felt better about herself after she began to solve her social awkwardness, and one day, she woke up and decided to go back to high school. She didn’t like what her father, or anyone else, was saying to her.
“I wanted to prove everyone wrong,” Raven said. “They thought I was too lazy to finish.”
And yet, all those people did not include her dad once he realized that Raven meant business. He had has doubts, but that only pushed Raven harder to finish. She entered the YES program in the district and got to work.
The program provides an independent way of earning a diploma from the high school. Those through the age of 21 can attend the program. The school uses online learning as well as a few teachers and allows the students to learn at their own pace, whether that’s slower or faster than the typical four years.
“We welcome them back with open arms anytime they are ready to keep working toward a high school diploma,” said Sarah Hepworth, principal at Moffat County High School.
Raven loved the program, and she was pleasantly surprised at the way the teachers treated her.
“When I went up to them, they would do one-on-one with me and help me,” she said. “They wouldn’t stop you until you got it in your head.”
She also got along with the other students in the program.
“They didn’t fit in either,” Raven said, “so I actually got more friends from the program. I just kept saying to myself, ‘Why didn’t I do this while I had the chance?”
Raven finished the program in two years. She even finished in April. Now she hopes to become a mechanic just like her father was for many years. She has bigger dreams of becoming a NASCAR driver, but she hopes to work on cars.
She also likes what her father has to say to her now.
“He tells me he’s proud of me,” Raven said.
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For nearly 40 years, Jonathan Herring has pursued his passion of education as a teacher, administrator, and principal in bigger cities such as Kansas City and Las Vegas.