AT ISSUE: Pathways graduates its first class

News Jul 06, 2011 by Noel Grzetic Etobicoke Guardian

For Devindra Lall, graduating high school isn't just about overcoming a statistical unlikelihood, it's validation of the man he's become.

"The Devindra today is a leadership-motivated student. The Devindra before Pathways was very non-social - a rebel," he said at the graduation for the first Pathways to Education class, held at Humber College last Thursday.

"If I didn't have this program, I'm not sure I would have been able to graduate... This day is a huge step to a new chapter - a new future for me."

Lall marked his graduation from the program with 63 other students from various high schools in north Etobicoke.

Initiated a decade ago in Regent Park, Pathways was created to reduce poverty and its effects by curbing the dropout rate and getting more disadvantaged students into post-secondary schools. Over the years, the dropout rate in the Regent Park area fell from 56 per cent to 10 per cent.

In 2007, the Etobicoke branch was created due to strong community desire, two years after being designated one of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods. A report by Pathways on their Ontario programs found that in 2008-2009, the proportion of academically 'at-risk' students declined from 36 to 19 per cent. The proportion of students who had poor attendance also declined - by 33 per cent, after just a year in the Pathways program.

The province recently earmarked $28.5 million for the program's next three years in several new communities.

Lall, 17, is part of the first wave of students to have completed the program from start to finish. He got involved after his mom met with Pathways' organizers at his middle school graduation.

"Before I got into Pathways I wasn't a very social student," said the North Albion Collegiate Institute alum. "I was always by myself and she thought I was going through depression mode."

During high school, the program provided him with tutoring which raised his grades "from 50 to 70, from 70 to 80s. I was on the honour roll last year."

Leticia Animodi, who went to Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School, saw similar results; she was able to improve fast enough to switch from applied to academic classes within her first year of high school.

The 18-year-old student ambassador of the graduating class chose to get into the program because, "it allowed me to become more exposed to what high school was actually like."

Information on job fairs and how to get a job was also provided to the students.

What sets Pathways apart is its umbrella approach to tackling dropout rates. The program looks to improve a variety of influencing factors in a student's life and incorporates mentorship, lunch money, cooking classes and camping trips, among other things.

Parental support workers are assigned and help with "anything from 'I had a fight with my boyfriend' to 'I got kicked out of the house,'" said Roxanne Wright, a coordinator of the Pathways program.

"Instead of just being a tutoring program or just being a scholarship to go to university, we're trying to fill in all the blanks for the students who don't have all the same privileges and advantages of more middle class households," she said.

Scholarships to post-secondary schools are also offered at the end of the program.

When Kofi Appiah was younger, the 17-year-old spent his homework time hanging out with friends and playing suburban school roof parkour. These days the main obstacle he's climbing is the education ladder.

He joined Pathways after a middle school teacher encouraged him to pursue his drawing ability. His grades and attendance improved.

The program also provided him with transit fare, something the West Humber Collegiate Institute student said encouraged him to go to school during the winter months.

"Most of my friends are not graduating," he said. But he thinks a lot of others could benefit from the program.

"Pathways helps you a lot. It helps you bring out your talents and what you're good at."

Appiah graduated the program on the condition he complete one final credit either through summer school or one last semester and receive his high school diploma. He wants to continue the pencil and paper route and is eyeing a bachelor's degree in interior design.

At the graduation ceremony, about five minutes before the marching music started, Lall reflected on who he is today: a stronger person, and not just academically.

Still, despite the newly-minted grad status and his studies in flight service awaiting him this fall, he admits part of him maintains his rebel status.

"I'm going to be honest, I do skip sometimes - I'm not a perfect student. But I do manage to get my grades up," he said. "And I try."

AT ISSUE: Pathways graduates its first class

Students celebrate completion of program, the change they've seen in themselves

News Jul 06, 2011 by Noel Grzetic Etobicoke Guardian

For Devindra Lall, graduating high school isn't just about overcoming a statistical unlikelihood, it's validation of the man he's become.

"The Devindra today is a leadership-motivated student. The Devindra before Pathways was very non-social - a rebel," he said at the graduation for the first Pathways to Education class, held at Humber College last Thursday.

"If I didn't have this program, I'm not sure I would have been able to graduate... This day is a huge step to a new chapter - a new future for me."

Lall marked his graduation from the program with 63 other students from various high schools in north Etobicoke.

Related Content

Initiated a decade ago in Regent Park, Pathways was created to reduce poverty and its effects by curbing the dropout rate and getting more disadvantaged students into post-secondary schools. Over the years, the dropout rate in the Regent Park area fell from 56 per cent to 10 per cent.

In 2007, the Etobicoke branch was created due to strong community desire, two years after being designated one of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods. A report by Pathways on their Ontario programs found that in 2008-2009, the proportion of academically 'at-risk' students declined from 36 to 19 per cent. The proportion of students who had poor attendance also declined - by 33 per cent, after just a year in the Pathways program.

The province recently earmarked $28.5 million for the program's next three years in several new communities.

Lall, 17, is part of the first wave of students to have completed the program from start to finish. He got involved after his mom met with Pathways' organizers at his middle school graduation.

"Before I got into Pathways I wasn't a very social student," said the North Albion Collegiate Institute alum. "I was always by myself and she thought I was going through depression mode."

During high school, the program provided him with tutoring which raised his grades "from 50 to 70, from 70 to 80s. I was on the honour roll last year."

Leticia Animodi, who went to Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School, saw similar results; she was able to improve fast enough to switch from applied to academic classes within her first year of high school.

The 18-year-old student ambassador of the graduating class chose to get into the program because, "it allowed me to become more exposed to what high school was actually like."

Information on job fairs and how to get a job was also provided to the students.

What sets Pathways apart is its umbrella approach to tackling dropout rates. The program looks to improve a variety of influencing factors in a student's life and incorporates mentorship, lunch money, cooking classes and camping trips, among other things.

Parental support workers are assigned and help with "anything from 'I had a fight with my boyfriend' to 'I got kicked out of the house,'" said Roxanne Wright, a coordinator of the Pathways program.

"Instead of just being a tutoring program or just being a scholarship to go to university, we're trying to fill in all the blanks for the students who don't have all the same privileges and advantages of more middle class households," she said.

Scholarships to post-secondary schools are also offered at the end of the program.

When Kofi Appiah was younger, the 17-year-old spent his homework time hanging out with friends and playing suburban school roof parkour. These days the main obstacle he's climbing is the education ladder.

He joined Pathways after a middle school teacher encouraged him to pursue his drawing ability. His grades and attendance improved.

The program also provided him with transit fare, something the West Humber Collegiate Institute student said encouraged him to go to school during the winter months.

"Most of my friends are not graduating," he said. But he thinks a lot of others could benefit from the program.

"Pathways helps you a lot. It helps you bring out your talents and what you're good at."

Appiah graduated the program on the condition he complete one final credit either through summer school or one last semester and receive his high school diploma. He wants to continue the pencil and paper route and is eyeing a bachelor's degree in interior design.

At the graduation ceremony, about five minutes before the marching music started, Lall reflected on who he is today: a stronger person, and not just academically.

Still, despite the newly-minted grad status and his studies in flight service awaiting him this fall, he admits part of him maintains his rebel status.

"I'm going to be honest, I do skip sometimes - I'm not a perfect student. But I do manage to get my grades up," he said. "And I try."

AT ISSUE: Pathways graduates its first class

Students celebrate completion of program, the change they've seen in themselves

News Jul 06, 2011 by Noel Grzetic Etobicoke Guardian

For Devindra Lall, graduating high school isn't just about overcoming a statistical unlikelihood, it's validation of the man he's become.

"The Devindra today is a leadership-motivated student. The Devindra before Pathways was very non-social - a rebel," he said at the graduation for the first Pathways to Education class, held at Humber College last Thursday.

"If I didn't have this program, I'm not sure I would have been able to graduate... This day is a huge step to a new chapter - a new future for me."

Lall marked his graduation from the program with 63 other students from various high schools in north Etobicoke.

Related Content

Initiated a decade ago in Regent Park, Pathways was created to reduce poverty and its effects by curbing the dropout rate and getting more disadvantaged students into post-secondary schools. Over the years, the dropout rate in the Regent Park area fell from 56 per cent to 10 per cent.

In 2007, the Etobicoke branch was created due to strong community desire, two years after being designated one of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods. A report by Pathways on their Ontario programs found that in 2008-2009, the proportion of academically 'at-risk' students declined from 36 to 19 per cent. The proportion of students who had poor attendance also declined - by 33 per cent, after just a year in the Pathways program.

The province recently earmarked $28.5 million for the program's next three years in several new communities.

Lall, 17, is part of the first wave of students to have completed the program from start to finish. He got involved after his mom met with Pathways' organizers at his middle school graduation.

"Before I got into Pathways I wasn't a very social student," said the North Albion Collegiate Institute alum. "I was always by myself and she thought I was going through depression mode."

During high school, the program provided him with tutoring which raised his grades "from 50 to 70, from 70 to 80s. I was on the honour roll last year."

Leticia Animodi, who went to Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School, saw similar results; she was able to improve fast enough to switch from applied to academic classes within her first year of high school.

The 18-year-old student ambassador of the graduating class chose to get into the program because, "it allowed me to become more exposed to what high school was actually like."

Information on job fairs and how to get a job was also provided to the students.

What sets Pathways apart is its umbrella approach to tackling dropout rates. The program looks to improve a variety of influencing factors in a student's life and incorporates mentorship, lunch money, cooking classes and camping trips, among other things.

Parental support workers are assigned and help with "anything from 'I had a fight with my boyfriend' to 'I got kicked out of the house,'" said Roxanne Wright, a coordinator of the Pathways program.

"Instead of just being a tutoring program or just being a scholarship to go to university, we're trying to fill in all the blanks for the students who don't have all the same privileges and advantages of more middle class households," she said.

Scholarships to post-secondary schools are also offered at the end of the program.

When Kofi Appiah was younger, the 17-year-old spent his homework time hanging out with friends and playing suburban school roof parkour. These days the main obstacle he's climbing is the education ladder.

He joined Pathways after a middle school teacher encouraged him to pursue his drawing ability. His grades and attendance improved.

The program also provided him with transit fare, something the West Humber Collegiate Institute student said encouraged him to go to school during the winter months.

"Most of my friends are not graduating," he said. But he thinks a lot of others could benefit from the program.

"Pathways helps you a lot. It helps you bring out your talents and what you're good at."

Appiah graduated the program on the condition he complete one final credit either through summer school or one last semester and receive his high school diploma. He wants to continue the pencil and paper route and is eyeing a bachelor's degree in interior design.

At the graduation ceremony, about five minutes before the marching music started, Lall reflected on who he is today: a stronger person, and not just academically.

Still, despite the newly-minted grad status and his studies in flight service awaiting him this fall, he admits part of him maintains his rebel status.

"I'm going to be honest, I do skip sometimes - I'm not a perfect student. But I do manage to get my grades up," he said. "And I try."