ESS 2021: Student strives in school to honor sister who passed away
July 26, 2021
Angel Barnes Grade: 12 School: Quartz Hill High District: Antelope Valley USD ACSA region: 15
For Angel Barnes, the most devastating loss provided the inspiration to succeed. Throughout a difficult childhood, Angel depended on her older sister for support because her mother wasn’t always around. Angel found it difficult to show an emotion other than anger.
After the tragic loss of her older sister and young nieces in a car accident, Angel worked with her support team, including Special Education staff, her PBIS Coordinator, counselors and her At-Risk Teacher, who helped her heal and gain the will to thrive. She enrolled in the A-G courses required to attend college and challenged herself to take two AP classes as well as courses through a Virtual Academy.
The struggles Angel experienced have only increased her determination to attend college and create a successful future for herself. She continues to build a relationship with her mother and strives to show all those who have supported her that she can achieve her future goals.
You’ve had a challenging childhood from the very beginning. What has that been like and how did you get to where you are today? The mindset that I’ve had ever since my sister and nieces passed away, it was “I have to graduate for them. I have to do what I need to do for them.” I just feel like it was something I needed to do for my family to show them I could do it.
How has your school community helped you with your challenges? The school community has been good. I have an IEP, so I have a case carrier who checks on me every day to make sure all my classes are going well. She helps me through everything. I feel like this school provides people to help students if they don’t really know who to talk to about things.
What was your reaction to winning the ACSA Every Student Succeeding award? My counselor and another teacher from my school nominated me for the award and I didn’t know about it. I was excited and happy.
Your mother had some challenges to overcome when you were a baby, but she turned her life around and graduated from college. How did her transformation impact you? Early on, my mother and I struggled with communication. It wasn’t as good as it is now. Maybe it’s because she wasn’t there when I was younger and I clung to my sister more. But now, as I’ve gotten older, our communication is better.
What advice would you give to students who have faced similar challenges? The advice I would give them is to not give up. Just because you’re in a bad situation now does not mean you’ll be in a bad situation later.
R15 2021 ESS Angel Barnes.
Region 15 2021 ESS winner Angel Barnes.
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