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Marcia Spector, Executive Director - Seeds of Health, Inc.
Tenor High School 2020 graduating seniors look to the future, having already completed one year of college
MILWAUKEE (May 28, 2020) – Tenor High School is a program of Seeds of Health schools in Milwaukee with a one-of-a-kind program structure. Unlike most traditional high schools, students at Tenor are provided a free year of college at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) after completing their high school education during their first three years. This year’s Tenor graduates are casting a wide net and exploring a variety of post-graduation career and education opportunities. Some of these students have older siblings who have paved a path for them as previous Tenor graduates, while others are the first in their family to graduate from Tenor. Regardless, Tenor graduates are equipped with the skills acquired during one year of college, and are prepared for a variety of post-graduation paths, including pursuit of four-year degrees, associate degrees, technical diplomas and entering the workforce. Tenor is graduating a class of 44 seniors this year. Below we highlight several students and their post-graduation endeavors.
A family of Tenor graduates
Kimberly Perez has been admitted to Marquette University on a full scholarship and plans to study Nursing. Described by school counselor Carol Pook as a bright, assertive, hard-working student, Kimberly is the fourth student in her family to graduate from Tenor. Kimberly’s two older sisters earned degrees from Cardinal Stritch University and her older brother, Dante, earned a technical diploma in Automotive Collision Repair & Paint. His instructor would always say, “Dante is an artist,” alluding to his meticulous and detail-oriented nature.
Aliza Lawson, another recent Tenor graduate, has been accepted at North Central University in Minneapolis and plans to major in International Studies; in part, her interest in international studies has been influenced by participating in two youth ministry trips to Vietnam through her church. Her choice of schools may have been impacted by the example set by her older brother, also a Tenor High School graduate and a graduate of North Central University, who now works with “at risk” youth. Aliza’s older sister continued her education at MATC after her free year of college during high school, earning her MATC Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts; she now works as a baker at Pick ‘n Save.
Joselena “Josie” Ortiz, Tenor’s Academic Excellence Scholar, will be transferring her MATC credits to Mount Mary University’s Occupational Therapy program. Described by Pook as a bright, hard-working, intense and principled student, Josie started high school as a quiet student and effectively “spread her wings” over the four years at Tenor and MATC, developing wonderful relationships with fellow students and teachers. Josie’s older brother Isaiah graduated from Tenor in 2019 and went on to earn the Automotive Maintenance Technician technical diploma and then a job working at a Honda dealership in Oak Creek. Isaiah plans to pursue a 4-year degree in engineering and continue working in the auto industry in the future.
Paving new paths at Tenor
Just as some Tenor seniors are following in the footsteps of older siblings in post-graduation pursuits, others are the first in their families to graduate from Tenor High School, leading the way for younger siblings.
Omar Mayorga has been admitted to MSOE to study engineering. Described by Pook as a bright, charming, and a bit “goofy” student who is “just beginning to grasp his potential,” Omar has taken College Algebra with Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry & Calculus One courses this year through MATC. Omar explained that once he started to “get it” he thought of these mathematics courses as “kind of like doing puzzles.”
Carlos Ortega is completing his technical diploma in Electricity over the summer. His first three years at Tenor prepared him with a variety of skills: in particular, participating in Project Lead the Way helped him to understand floor plans and elevations, skills necessary for his Electricity courses; and participation in Tenor’s Street Law program built up his confidence and interpersonal skills. Charles McDonald, Carlos’ instructor for the Basic Skills for Electrical Wiring course at MATC, stated, “I love having Carlos in my class. He is always on time and very respectful. Carlos does very well with the Lab and he seems to catch on fast.” Carlos plans to apply for an Electricity Apprenticeship, with the goal of becoming a journeyman electrician.
Isaiah Curry will be pursuing an Associate Degree in multimedia art, transferring his credits from graphic design and animation courses at MATC to Lone Star College in Texas, a school near where his extended family lives. Eventually, Isaiah plans to transfer to a 4-year college within the University of Texas system. Pook nicknames Curry as “Mr. Positivity” as he brightens everyone’s day; she says that he has learned to “work like a college student” this year.
Tenor graduates have a wide variety of interests and ideas for their futures. What they all have in common is having had the opportunity to learn about their interests and develop some university level skills through their free year of college before even graduating from high school! Tenor graduates are equipped with a budding self-confidence and belief that they have the tools to pave their own paths into the future.
About Seeds of Health, Inc.
Founded in 1983, Seeds of Health, Inc. is the only K4-12 charter school agency in the state of Wisconsin serving approximately 1,300 students in four high schools and a K4-8 elementary program. The five individual and unique education programs serve a broad range of student needs – from at-risk to the college bound. Seeds of Health is Milwaukee’s innovative “home grown” answer to imaginative, collaborative and cutting-edge education options, with the vision to positively impact the growth and development of urban children. For more information, please visit www.seedsofhealth.org.