Win tickets to Evergreen State Fair concert
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Summer school of life in Granite Falls

  • Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian works with her teacher, Tiffany Villahermosa, on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossr...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian works with her teacher, Tiffany Villahermosa, on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls.

  • Dane Ulrich, 18, researches the pH scale during class in a summer program at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls after dropping out as...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Dane Ulrich, 18, researches the pH scale during class in a summer program at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls after dropping out as a sophomore.

  • Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls ...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls on Wednesday. Christian is working on catching up in credits this summer so that she can graduate from high school next year.

  • Sierra Stroud talks spends time with her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls on Wednesday...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Sierra Stroud talks spends time with her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls on Wednesday.

  • Dane Ulrich, 18, and Sierra Stroud, 20, pour a mixture that will harden into soap during a lesson on the pH scale at Crossroads Alternative High Schoo...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Dane Ulrich, 18, and Sierra Stroud, 20, pour a mixture that will harden into soap during a lesson on the pH scale at Crossroads Alternative High School on Wednesday.

  • Sierra Stroud carries her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls.

    Sierra Stroud carries her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls.

  • Dane Ulrich, 18, works on a table during lunchtime at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls. Ulrich dropped out as a sophomore.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Dane Ulrich, 18, works on a table during lunchtime at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls. Ulrich dropped out as a sophomore.

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
By Andy Rathbun
Herald Writer
Published:
  • Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian works with her teacher, Tiffany Villahermosa, on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossr...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian works with her teacher, Tiffany Villahermosa, on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls.

  • Dane Ulrich, 18, researches the pH scale during class in a summer program at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls after dropping out as...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Dane Ulrich, 18, researches the pH scale during class in a summer program at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls after dropping out as a sophomore.

  • Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls ...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Seventeen-year-old Jessica Christian on a set of questions about the pH scale during her class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls on Wednesday. Christian is working on catching up in credits this summer so that she can graduate from high school next year.

  • Sierra Stroud talks spends time with her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls on Wednesday...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Sierra Stroud talks spends time with her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls on Wednesday.

  • Dane Ulrich, 18, and Sierra Stroud, 20, pour a mixture that will harden into soap during a lesson on the pH scale at Crossroads Alternative High Schoo...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Dane Ulrich, 18, and Sierra Stroud, 20, pour a mixture that will harden into soap during a lesson on the pH scale at Crossroads Alternative High School on Wednesday.

  • Sierra Stroud carries her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls.

    Sierra Stroud carries her 20-month-old son, Kayden, between classes at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls.

  • Dane Ulrich, 18, works on a table during lunchtime at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls. Ulrich dropped out as a sophomore.

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Dane Ulrich, 18, works on a table during lunchtime at Crossroads Alternative High School in Granite Falls. Ulrich dropped out as a sophomore.

GRANITE FALLS — By her count, Jessica Christian has attended about 15 schools across three states since third grade.
She also has spent the past month sleeping in shelters and at a friend’s house.
She plans to move back to Idaho to live with her father this summer, but for now, she’s homeless.
Jessica, 17, wants to graduate on time but needs help. She got a bit in a summer school program at Crossroads Alternative High School.
“People here, they want to help you, they want to make you succeed,” she said. “It makes it a lot easier.”
The two-week summer program catered to people like Jessica. Students earned a half-credit toward graduation by taking a crash course in nutrition and personal finance.
The course was designed to provide lessons that may prove valuable outside the classroom.
“These kids need their life skills,” principal Bridgette Perrigoue said.
The summer program started in 2009 and had about 20 students. It doubled in size this year, as nearly 40 people learned the basics of money management and nutrition.
The district earlier this month received a four-year $100,000 grant through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to keep funding the program. The money also will support other aspects of the school.
Most in the summer program were homeless. Some had babies. Situations like that gave the students a fresh perspective on school.
Take Sierra Stroud for example. She said she dropped out when she was 15. Since then, she has worked full-time at a coffee stand and a retail store. She also had a baby.
Now she wants to get her diploma. She would like to own a business and hopes to set a good example for her 20-month-old son, Kayden Crumpton.
“If I don’t have my high school diploma, it’s going to be harder for me to convince him that that’s what you’re supposed to do,” she said.
For the past two weeks, Sierra and her fellow classmates began their day at 7:30 a.m. with journal writing. Teachers said the practice helped the students vent frustrations, getting everyone in the right mindset to learn.
Then the lessons began.
Students studied acids, bases and pH levels as they made bars of soap. They learned about the food industry and designed their own healthy menus. They also were sent daily to a nearby grocery to buy food on a $2 budget.
“In life, you don’t always have just an open-ended checkbook,” teacher Cathy Wagner said.
After returning, they pooled their ingredients to make casseroles, sandwiches, soups and more.
“We’re very hands-on,” teacher Tiffany Villahermosa said.
The approach connected with students like Dane Ulrich, 18. The mohawk-wearing teen dropped out sophomore year. He worked a bit before deciding this spring to try the alternative high school.
Now, he hopes to graduate in 2011.
“I don’t mind waking up in the morning and going to do this, because it’s fun,” he said. “I’m actually learning.”

Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455, arathbun@heraldnet.com.






Story tags » Granite FallsEducation & SchoolsPeople

More Local News Headlines

NEWSLETTER

HeraldNet Headlines

Top stories and breaking news updates

Calendar

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus