Oak Ridge High School

by: FOR Orlando

Oak Ridge High School is a public high school in Orlando, Florida, established in 1959. Oak Ridge serves grades 9–12 and has over 2,500 students. Oak Ridge is also the home of three student mentoring programs, LIFE (Lifting and Impacting Futures through Education), KICS (Keeping It Classy Sisterhood), and NEMP (No Excuses Mentoring Program).

Dontrell
Dean of Attendance and Coordinator of AP and Magnet Programs

I actually went to school and majored in marketing and Spanish at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I didn’t plan to go into education, but I do come from an education background. My grandmother, my aunt, and my uncle worked in education, and my dad was a pastor. Education was all around me. I was always told growing up, “Don’t go to school to be a teacher!” But it was like it was inevitable that it was going to happen. Marketing turned out to be kind of boring to me, so I started substitute teaching and I loved it.

I’ve taught Business Education, Information Technology, Powerpoint, Adobe Photoshop, Digital Design, Fashion Design, Keyboarding, and most recently College and Career Research and Readiness. I am now the Dean of Attendance and the Coordinator of AP and Magnet programs. I track students’ attendance and tardiness and deal with that. I also provide support to all of our AP and Magnet program teachers.

I’m also the Mentor of LIFE (Lifting and Impacting Futures through Education). We also have mentoring programs called KICS (Keeping It Classy Sisterhood) and NEMP (No Excuses Mentoring Program). We just want to help our students who come from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds become well-rounded students and give them new and different life experiences. We want to help them relate to people outside of their community. We also want them to be college-ready so they have all the tools that they need to go to college or start a career.

My favorite thing about Oak Ridge is the students. I enjoy being there every day. With the background that some of our students come from, you would never know that they’re struggling because they just come to school full of life every day. They keep me young, and I learn so much from them. They are our future. They’re innovative, they’re creative, and they’re the future leaders of our world. It’s important for them to see us supporting their goals so they continue to feel motivated to work. Our students see a lot of negativity around them. And a lot of times that’s what their life is built on.

I think it’s important for churches to be involved in public schools because kids need to see the positivity that is in the church. They need to see people that are Christ-led believers that aren’t judgmental. That it’s okay to just come as you are and be who God created them and designed them to be.

One of the best ways churches can support teachers and schools is by praying for us. You know, praying for teachers as much as you can, lifting us up. Just being a gift of life to us and letting us know that what we’re doing is beneficial.

Our students need to see more people that care and want to be involved in their lives and be a support system. I try to get them involved with people that they may not necessarily see on a regular day. They need to see different people who come from different lifestyles and different career backgrounds. And to see that there’s something outside of Oak Ridge and outside of this community.

Students need to know that somebody is interested in them. They may not always get that at home. A lot of times students don’t feel understood. When you find out a child’s story and show that interest, they began to open up.

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