Pictured from left are Nefertiti Mills-Washington (Asst. teacher); new graduate Sherick Brinson; and Charmaine Blue, Director of Student Services – college, career & community relations. Sherick is one of five students who received a full scholarship to the Bridges to Success 2/2 program, which includes two years at Valencia College (Associates Degree) and two years at UCF (Bachelors Degree). He will major in Accounting.
For the 2013 academic school year, AU’s DBI program had 70 graduates! Congratulations to each and every student who made the commitment to return to school and earn a diploma. Many of them plan to attend college; others will join the military or enter the workforce directly. A number of students received certificates of completion during the graduation ceremonies and will return to complete their requirements for an actual diploma. Graduates are listed below with their DBI school site and future plans.
Alex Alaniz, Tangelo
Kenneth Almodovar, Falcon, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Davidson Augustin, Hiawassee, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Rosangela Baez, Semoran
Belle Baumbach, Lancaster
Juan Bencosme, Tangelo, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Raul Blancaneaux, Lancaster
Olivia Bridges, Hiawassee
Sherrick Brinson, Jan Grad, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF); full scholarship
Keino Burke, Evans, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Florida A&M University
Pablo Cardenas, Semoran Will return for diploma, then attend college
Shane Carty, Jan Grad
Olimite Charles, Hiawassee, Military
Elizabeth Cunningham, Eatonville, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF); full scholarship
Alfredo DeGracia, Lake Nona, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Nelson Estrella, Falcon, Working while attending college
Ashley Falcone Semoran Valencia College
Rayshawn Fisher, Jan Grad
Jerrod Ford, OBT, Will return for diploma then attend college
Shanteria Forte, Hiawassee, Working while attending college
Alba Fuentes, Hiawassee
Matthew Garces, Lake Nona, Valencia College
Devonne Givens, Hiawassee
Osyaniel Gonzalez, Lancaster, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Jusme Guerinaud, OBT, Pre-established career with NBA youth org.
Yris Guzman, Colonial, University of Central Florida (UCF)
Shanice Holmes, Carter, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF)
Tiesha Hutchinson, Tangelo, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Florida A&M University
Hisken Ali Isaac, Evans HS, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Florida A&M University
Sofia Issac, Hiawassee, Will return for diploma, then attend college
James Jean Baptiste, Lancaster
Ketia Jean Jacques, Jan Grad, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Ashley Johnson, Hiawassee, Valencia College
Jean Julme, Tangelo, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF); full scholarship
Michael Kalphat-Lopez, Colonial, University of Hawaii, Bright Futures; full scholarship
Deven Kelley, Jan Grad
Avery Kishore, Evans HS, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Kirby Kleef, Hiawassee, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Eric Looper, Semoran, Florida State University – Bright Futures; full scholarship
LaDrae Loving, Jan Grad
Steven Lumaine, Eatonville
Kalvyn Luzarraga, Lake Nona
Osraldo Martell, Jan Grad
Jay McFarlane, Wekiva HS
Brittany McGee, Hiawassee, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Gulherme Medeiros, Semoran, State University of Tennessee
Jose Melendez, Semoran, Dayton State College
Marquise Molina, Jan Grad, AT&T Work/UCF College Program
Jonathan Negron, Lake Nona
Joshua Nieves Cruz, Semoran
Angelica Palomino, Semoran
Sierra Payne, Tangelo
Roberto Perez, East River, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Patrick Pharel, Hiawassee, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Dominique Pollard, Jan Grad
Rebecca Resto, Eatonville, Seminole State College
Mynor Rivera, Lancaster
Ricardo Rivera, Semoran
Jeremy Rodriguez, Hiawassee, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF)
Matthews Rodriguez, Tangelo, School for building airplanes; scholarship
Jermel Russell, Hiawassee, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF); full scholarship
Kiara Sneed, Pine Hills
Jordan Stevens, Eatonville, 2/2 Program – Valencia College & Univ. Central Florida (UCF)
LaPaige Stokes, OBT, Cosmetology School and Business School
Rochelle Tarlbert, Jan Grad
Leticia Thompson, Jan Grad
Devon Waldron, Lake Nona, Will return for diploma, then attend college
Brandon Walko, Jan Grad
Kevin Weeks, Evans HS, Will return for diploma, then attend college
The Phoenix Learning Center branch of Alternatives Unlimited recently received an honor from the Arizona Department of Education for being rated a 5 by the local public education districts.
Public districts were asked a series of questions regarding the services provided by private schools in the area. The questions were rated on a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the highest degree of excellence. The overall average rating for all private schools this year was a 3.5. We were one of only 10 private schools in Arizona achieving an overall score of 4.0 or higher. Congratulations to our staff and big thank you to AU for all the support and guidance!
By Mychael Willon, Chief Academic Officer
Another school year closes, and, at the time I compose this, 179 students have graduated from the many Florida counties we serve! We will have even more students graduating during the summer as they complete a few extra credits that they have yet to be finish.
As an educator, I know that each and every student is a success story! Remember that each student whom we have helped earn a diploma had previously dropped out of high school and had little direction in life. YOU, our staff and administrators, changed that! YOU have opened doors for them that would have been closed and given them the opportunity to pursue the American dream.
I had the chance to enjoy the graduation awards ceremony in Orange County this year and was touched to see the awards that our students had been nominated for by their teachers. The looks on their faces as they accepted awards for everything from Best Dressed to Most Likely to Succeed were priceless. The pride I saw in their faces, and the expressions from their loved ones in attendance, spoke volumes to the growth they have experienced from our Drop Back In and Drop In academies.
What really touched me and brought tears to my eyes were the eight students going to the stage to get awards for full scholarships (books and tuition) from Valencia College. Twenty students have been accepted to attend Valencia and others are still applying. Orlando Magic also awarded one of our students a $6,000 scholarship. We still have a number of students who are being considered for scholarships and admissions to other colleges. For these students, we not only opened doors, we have put them on a path to higher education that can only result in unlimited possibilities for their future.
I am pleased to share with you that all of the counties we currently work with have indicated that they will continue to utilize our services again next year, and we will be adding a new county in a new state, Dougherty County in Georgia. We also are in dialogue with several other districts across the country that may result in additional opportunities as well.
The continuation of all of our present contracts is, without a doubt, the result of the hard work and dedication that our teachers, paraprofessionals, supervisors and office support staff bring to the job each day. Your passion for the students we serve is the reason Alternatives Unlimited is so successful! Thank you all for a job well done!
Alternatives Unlimited has formed an advisory council to assist with developing long-range strategic plans and advise on funding issues.
According to CEO John Sullivan, ”The collective experience of the council will be invaluable in helping Alternatives Unlimited map the future as well as improve instructional and business practices.”
The first meeting was held November 12 in Baltimore, Md., with another session on January 28. During these sessions, the council members dealt with organizational issues, discussed how to streamline operations to make AU more efficient and cost effective, and examined protocols for various compliance issues. Subsequent council meetings will be held quarterly.
Members of the council include Doug Riley, a Maryland attorney who is serving as council president; Bart Anderson, an educator in Columbus, Ohio; Tracey Berger, an attorney in San Francisco; and Don Mohler, the chief of staff to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
John Sullivan, AU’s CEO, also sits on the council, while Melissa Replogle serves as council secretary. Brief bios of each of the council members follow:
Bart Anderson —Mr. Anderson serves as the superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and the executive director of the Regional Shared Service Center Council of Governments. He holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania where, in the world of interesting coincidences, Stuart Berger, AU’s founder, served on his dissertation committee.
Tracey Berger — Ms. Berger is a graduate of New York University and Northwestern University School of Law. Since 2006, she has been an associate with the Bingham McCutchen law firm in their San Francisco offices.
Don Mohler — Mr. Mohler served in numerous capacities during his 30 years with the Baltimore County Public Schools. In 2005, he became senior advisor and director of communications for Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. In 2010, he was appointed chief of staff to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
Doug Riley — Mr. Riley is an attorney with the Maryland law firm of Treanor Pope & Hughes, P.A. He has been involved with AU since its very beginning, helping Dr. Berger organize the company in 1998 and serving as AU’s general counsel until joining the advisory committee. Mr. Riley was elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1990 and served for eight years, during which time Dr. Berger was Baltimore County superintendent of schools.