Tuesday’s Childhood Dream is Realized

By Sarah Kurtzman, Treehouse Marketing & Communications

When eighteen-year-old Tuesday was recently asked what her biggest achievement in life has been, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. “Being the first person in my family to graduate from high school,” she proudly responded. Upon looking at this bright, young college freshman, it is hard to believe that homelessness and hopelessness almost crushed her graduation dreams just a few years ago.

Tuesday dreamed of graduating from high school ever since she was a little girl. While education was not a priority in her home, she was a model student during her freshman year at Cleveland High School. She was motivated, organized, goal-oriented, and had good grades. These achievements were put in jeopardy her sophomore year, however, when she was forced out of the family home due to no fault of her own. Over the next few months she moved between foster homes, group homes, and relatives, often couch surfing. She missed countless days of school and was soon failing all of her courses.

Tuesday Treehouse Student

After confiding in her math teacher Mrs.Starostka, Tuesday got her first glimmer of hope. Mr. and Mrs. Starostka were willing to be her guardians! Tuesday finally learned what it felt like to be part of a real family, and with a consistent, safe place to stay, she could focus on school again. With the help of her Cleveland and Treehouse support team, Tuesday brought her grades up to a 3.5 GPA in one semester and her graduation goal became a real possibility again.

While Tuesday continued to excel in the classroom her junior year, the trauma from her childhood manifested into crippling self-doubt and anxiety. She had been told that she would never amount to anything, so believing in herself and her ability to graduate from high school was a constant struggle. This self-doubt culminated her senior year and she chose not to enroll at Cleveland.

Treehouse Education Specialist Barbara Rockey worked diligently with Tuesday and her counselor to help build her confidence and get her reenrolled. She helped Tuesday learn how to take one day at a time to abate her anxiety, and together they developed short-term goals focused on time and stress management. Barbara also connected Tuesday to a Treehouse volunteer tutor to help her successfully complete her last few challenging classes, UW biology and pre- calculus, as well as prepare for the SATs. With her ever-growing circle of support, Tuesday not only graduated with a strong GPA, she also got a phenomenal score on the SATs resulting in an acceptance letter from Western Washington University!

Thanks to Barbara and Tuesday’s endless hours researching and applying for scholarships, and the generosity of Cares of Washington and the Mount Baker Scholarship Foundation donors, Tuesday is attending WWU this fall on a full ride scholarship pursuing her next dream—becoming an orthodontist!

We are so proud of the 90%+ of Treehouse’s Class of 2015 graduates like Tuesday who are attending or have a plan to attend college or vocational school this year.

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About the Author

Sarah Kurtzman is the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Treehouse. She has the honor of working with youth like Tuesday who have experienced foster care to share their stories of resilience, strength, and hope.

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