If any of you were wondering, these are the kinds of emails being passed around between Highlands’ staff regularly. It’s what wakes us all up in the morning and draws us into work.
This was written by our High School Instructor Manny Casillas, who teaches at our Holy Cross campus in West Sacramento.
“This is Christian; he has an interesting story that’s uplifting and inspiring. Christian made poor life choices as a juvenile at 16. Christian’s poor life choices led to him and two of his ‘homies’ to be tried as adults. Christian took full responsibility, got 6 years, and did 5 years in San Quentin, Susanville, and Lassen State Prison.
One day, he came to Holy Cross to use the bathroom with a friend on the way to the park to play basketball. When they came in, I asked them, ‘Did you guys graduate high school?’ They both said no. So, I asked them if I played and beat them, one-on-one, would they give high school a try? They looked me up and down and said yes.
To make a long story short, they enrolled and Christian graduated today – 10/26/2017. He teared up as he left his counselor’s office, hugged me, and said thank you. He went from getting sentenced 6 years to graduating from Highlands and is now enrolling in American River Community College where he’s determined to work in fitness.
I guess I’m sharing this story because this is he why we become educators; we all believe in positive change and we all make the world a better place despite the stress our jobs cause us at
times. The success stories help us get to the Fridays we all crave. Highlands has helped Christian find his insatiable thirst for learning. I hope this story helps someone; it has helped me get to Friday.”