ODESSA, Texas — ECISD's IDRA Youth Valued Program is for students who may be at risk of dropping out. Through this program, students grow and learn how to become successful.
This group of Odessa High students are headed to school, but not their school. Instead, they're here to tutor other students at Austin Montessori School.
"We take tutors from high school in a class, and we go to the elementary to tutor the littles," said Instructor Casie Granado.
Granado has been with this group of OHS students since the beginning.
"From day one, they were super nervous, super scared; they didn't know what to expect, what to do. I said okay we got to get a game plan," Granado said.
However, that's not the case anymore.
"I can't stop smiling, I'm so proud of them, from seeing them from the very beginning being super shy and super skeptical and thinking they just threw me in this class. To now my classroom is full I don't have a big issue with attendance and that's what this program is about, keeping them in the classroom," said Granado.
One student is a Junior at OHS, Jade Hernandez,
"I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was just signing up for classes because after COVID I had no intention of going to college, I just wanted to get a job like a regular person," said Hernandez
"Until I got into the class and got a sneak peek of what teachers do and not knowing I'd fall in love with it, so I was like okay this is a career I have to do," Hernandez said.
Now she wants to go to college to become a Pre-K teacher.
"I hated teachers, I did. I used to be like 'I don't want to come to school' and getting to step into their feet for once opens your eyes. It shows it's not just about education, it's a little more than that and I think it's cool," Hernandez said.
Jade has found something she loves doing, while also forming some relationships along the way.
"All of these kids that are all my friends, I did not know them. Some of them are freshmen, some are sophomores, and I was like this is going to be weird. A junior in a sophomore freshman class with one senior… very confusing but we all became close friends very very fast and that's what I really like about this program as well," said Hernandez.
The growth of her students is something that Ms. Granado is happy to see.
"That's my goal is they leave this class having a better idea of what they want to do and what they want to be," Granado said.
Because these students are helping the younger kids, but also helping themselves at the same time.
"It hit the littles, but it hits the high school kids too," said Granado.