Sometimes a year makes all the difference. For Cornell Clark, the transformation he made from his sophomore year to his junior year was truly remarkable, and it is helping him shape his future.
When he came to SSD’s deaf and hard of hearing program at Hazelwood Central High School as a sophomore, he had a very difficult time with school. Along with poor attendance, Cornell’s grades and test scores were well below what he was capable of achieving. He also rarely wore his hearing aids and thus missed information while in class. But he did have a goal that he had in his sights. He wanted to attend SSD’s North Technical High School and become a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician like his older brother.
When his SSD teacher, Angie Aromando, told him what it would take to get accepted to attend North Tech and to become an HVAC technician, Cornell started to make some improvements, but he was still struggling in many key areas. When he applied to North Tech during his sophomore year, he was not accepted. After that, he and his teacher sat down to discuss all real changes he needed to make, and it finally hit home for him.
“I have never in my 16 years as a teacher seen a student so motivated to improve himself,” Aromando said. “That next semester, we started to see a different Cornell.” He started to wear his hearing aids in all of his classes, kept track of his grades, turned in assignments, and most importantly asked for help if he didn’t understand something.
“Now, in his junior year, Cornell is truly a different person,” Aromando said. “He keeps going and wanting to learn so much to improve himself.”
Cornell now rarely misses school, he reads at home to help improve his reading abilities, and he works on his speech skills. He even carries around a notebook and writes down words that he has read or seen that he wants to learn or practice.
Cornell plans to attend North Tech for his senior year, and after that hopes to attend Ranken Technical College to study HVAC.