Student Spotlight: Starnia Tyler

Starnia Tyler is 19 years old and moved to Rochester 11 months ago from Syracuse. For a few years, Starnia has had a goal of receiving her HSE (High School Equivalency) but has not acted upon it until now. Starnia found out about OACES when her aunt referred her. Her aunt recommended she receive her HSE at OACES and enroll in the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program after attending classes for a few months.

Starnia stopped attending school two years ago and never received her high school diploma. Before coming to OACES, Starnia stated that she felt like her “brain and brain cells were melting, like an emotional breakdown” in her brain. She did have some concerns before coming to OACES, but Starnia’ s aunt reassured her that she can do it. Programs at OACES are suited to assist people who are in similar positions to Starnia and help them achieve their goals.

When Starnia started her enrollment process at OACES, she began to question everything. Although she asserts the intake process was easy, but she was worried about her placement tests and reluctant to see her scores. Starnia had a feeling that that she wasn’t going to be at the level she wanted but didn’t let that intimidation stop her from coming back and attending classes.

Starnia is well versed digitally, but things are different since COVID ensued, especially academically. In high school, all assignments were done and handed in, in-person. Now, Starnia has to complete and submit assignments virtually. Although she is familiar with technology, this sudden change in academics proves to be another barrier for Starnia. Her favorite aspect about OACES is the value teaches see in their students. Her teacher checks-in weekly and is honest with Starnia about her progress and academic goals. During trying times like these, it is comforting and reassuring to know and experience teachers looking out for their student’s digital competencies because they truly want them to succeed. It is no help to the students or teachers if students are not understanding how to do their work digitally, so its imperative teachers check in if something was not submitted or completed in full. Starnia’ s experience in high school, was that many teachers go through the motions of teaching but have little concern for their student’s academics as a whole. At OACES, the teachers are there to teach; they are actively choosing to come, especially during a pandemic. The teachers at OACES want to be teaching in person, and their primary goal is to have their students truly succeed academically, and then prepare them for the workforce.

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