Brianna Blanco’s Success Story

Brianna is a 22 year old who just graduated from High School. Her dream is to become a Fish and Game Warden and in the meantime, she is looking at becoming a Dental Hygienist. Now she is one step closer to making those dreams come true.

Let’s rewind on her story a bit. Back in 2014, Brianna was in her last semester of high school. She was doing well in all of her classes and was excited to graduate. She had accumulated around 12 college credits. She was applying to the local community college. About two months before she was supposed to graduate, Brianna’s plans were drastically changed. One day, she was asked to go to the school counselor where she found out that she technically could not graduate because she was half a credit short. This was due to a math class that she took her freshman year in high school that was not awarded any credits due to its curriculum. She was then signed up to take a one-semester geometry class online, all while having senioritis. She would have had to give up her last month with her childhood friends in high school in order to finish on time. Since she was so close to graduating, the school permitted her to walk with her fellow students, but she did not have it in her to complete that one last class. Instead, Brianna stuck with part of her original plan and got a summer job because it seemed more important at the time for her 18 year old self. What Brianna did not expect happened, time went by fast. Next thing she knew, she was 22 years old still without her high school diploma, not working towards her career dream.

Brianna heard about YOOP from a friend who was in the program. Brianna decided to give it a try. After speaking with YOOP staff, Rachael Newell, Brianna had renewed hope. Rachael took the time to listen to Brianna’s story and told her that she was going to make some changes in Brianna’s life. The very next day, Rachael went to Brianna’s former high school and convinced them to re-enroll Brianna even though she was 22 years old which is past the age of getting her High School Diploma through the normal, free school system. Since she was over age, there was a class fee so YOOP helped her with the cost. Dayton High School took her back, and all she had to do was take an online math class that would cover the 0.5 credit that she still needed to graduate. This was her last and final opportunity to graduate. She had until the last full week of May to complete it. If she didn’t complete and pass it by then, she would have to get her G.E.D. Brianna was extremely thankful for the opportunity to graduate with her High School Diploma.

A couple months passed and Brianna’s High School Counselor called YOOP staff and shared that they were concerned that Brianna was not going to complete her class in time. She made a lot of progress at the beginning, but Brianna had bills to pay. She picked up a job in addition to babysitting her nephew for her ill sister. Her free time for the Math course had dwindled, which caused her to fall behind.  When Rachael heard the news about Brianna’s progress in her class, she did what she knew was best for Brianna. She called Brianna’s mother. Rachael knew how close Brianna is with her mother and how important it was to both of them for Brianna to graduate. Brianna’s mother sat her down and they had a talk about priorities. With the help of her parents and other loved ones, Brianna quit her job in order to complete her online math class by the deadline.

Two days before the deadline, YOOP staff received a call from Brianna to hear the news that she took the final test to complete her class, but she failed by one question. Brianna was disappointed but shared that the school offered to let her take the test again. Brianna shared that she was going to go through the study guide in great detail because it was the final countdown. The next morning, Brianna went back to Dayton High School to take the proctored test again, and this time she passed it with a high B+. Brianna had done it. She had completed her high school diploma.

When Brianna went in for the testing sessions, she talked with some of her former teachers who thought she had already graduated. She shared her story and now they are in the process of trying to make sure she receives the college credits she earned so long ago when she was in high school.

What is she doing next? Brianna is looking at applying to the Dental Hygienist program at Chemeketa Community College. She knows this is a practical career and is something she believes she will enjoy. She also shared that she is planning on volunteering this summer at Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife reserve because she still has a dream of someday becoming a Fish and Game Warden.