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Terrence Cameron–Remillard A TRA-Worcester YouthBuild Success Story!

Written by: Francis DeAngelo, Worcester YouthBuild Teacher

I had the honor and privilege of teaching Terrence Cameron-Remillard during the 2014 YouthBuild program year. Although Terrence had enrolled in YouthBuild the previous year before I arrived, he did not achieve everything that he had set out to do and felt frustrated by the end of the year. However, with a chip on his shoulder and more determined than ever, Terrence again enrolled in the YouthBuild program in 2014.

As soon as I met Terrence and began working with him in class, I realized that he was a very intelligent, hardworking, and very curious student. He thrived in the academic environment doing a great job of taking notes, asking questions for clarification, and making appropriate comments connected to the content presented in class. Instead of letting math, which he considered to be his “worst subject,” frustrate him, he carefully listened during the lecture, continually worked diligently, and remained focused on getting every problem correct.

He applied the same techniques to the other subjects as well: reading, writing, science, and social studies. Terrence was already a very good reader, but he needed some work on his writing skills. However, because he refused to give up on his writing assignments and made an effort to improve, his writing steadily progressed over time. The same occurred when the class was asked to create and present various PowerPoint presentations throughout the year. He worked diligently, kept his eyes on the prize, grew academically, became a better researcher, and achieved higher confidence when it came to speaking to and teaching his peers.

My proudest moment of Terrence, however, was when he finally passed all the subjects of the High School Equivalency Exam (HiSET). On the first try, he passed every subject except math with flying colors. On the third try and remembering again why he was enrolled in YouthBuild, Terrence also passed the math portion and received his HiSET diploma. Seeing Terrence smile and happily share with his peers that he had finally conquered the HiSET was an experience that I will never forget. It also fulfilled my vision, which I had shared with my students at the beginning of the year, that hard work and determination would lead to obtaining the prized HiSET. This vision truly became a reality when students, like Terrence, overcame nervousness, anxiety, self-doubt, and perhaps even past failures to seize the moment and show that they refused to be defined by the past, but by the present.

I am also very proud to share that Terrence has recently begun his first semester at Quinsigamond Community College and is presently doing well. He is staying in constant contact with the TRA-Worcester YouthBuild Case Manager and me, giving us updates on his college and academic experiences. He has also completed all homework assignments and is working to remain on schedule with his course readings. Terrence looks to continue to improve every day, both as a student and as a person, and is looking forward to an earning an Associate’s Degree in Informational Technology (IT) within the next couple of years. The staff at YouthBuild are very proud of Terrence and will continue to support and encourage Terrence to achieve his goals now and beyond.

In his own words, Terrence says of his YouthBuild experience, “YouthBuild taught me about life. It taught me that nothing comes easy, and that giving up isn’t an option. I had to do YouthBuild twice. I had to take my math test 3 times in order to get my High School Equivalency Diploma. I felt what it was like to earn something, and I am proud of that. The staff in Worcester YouthBuild is great, and without them I wouldn’t be in college today.”

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