Success Stories

  • Justin, 2015 Graduate

    You can’t wipe the big smile off of Justin’s face. That’s because Justin is meeting a life goal by graduating from high school.

    “I am the first one in my family to graduate. I know I need this for my future. It will make me a better person and help me build my life,” said Justin.

    Justin hasn’t had the typical path to graduation. He spent much of his early years in foster care and even battled drug addiction and lived on the streets. Justin was eventually adopted by a family who served as great role models for him. And he had finally found a place where he could finish his high school education, HOPE at Brighton Leadership High Academy. However, just before the start of this school year, Justin was diagnosed with Ewing’s Soft Tissue Sarcoma Cancer.

    In August, Justin had three tumors removed from his leg. He started visiting Children’s Hospital Colorado every week in September to receive chemotherapy or complete blood work. Justin will finish his treatments, and hopefully be cancer-free, for graduation day.

    “All the odds have been against me, but I am overcoming it,” said Justin, who said he will have a large cheering section at graduation. “HOPE is giving me a chance at life, and I don’t know where I’d be without it.”

    Justin is particularly thankful for the support the students and staff at HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op have given to him this last year to get him to graduation. They work school assignments in and around his chemotherapy schedule. Additionally the families in his HOPE Learning Center have raised funds to help offset the costs of his treatments.

    “It feels like family. I’ve never had support like this before,” commented Justin. “The name of this school, HOPE, really speaks for itself. They have truly given that to me, always encouraging me and telling me I can do it. I feel like I am living in a dream. This is amazing, and my heart will be forever endlessly thankful.”

    Ms. Kim Vega, Manager, HOPE at Brighton Leadership Academy, is proud of Justin and the students her Learning Center serves.

    “I’m honored to work with HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op. We are giving youth, no matter their struggles, a path to contribute to society in a positive way,” Ms. Vega said.

    Justin’s favorite school subjects are science and history. He plans to become an x-ray technician after high school, and later, possibly, a pastor and/or a barber.