Journey Home West Celebrates High School Graduates’ Success During COVID-19
High school graduation looks different this year for seniors across the country. At Journey Home West, a step down program for young women ages 16-21, students smoothly transitioned to remote learning and were able to successfully graduate from local schools in Utah. This month, students celebrated their academic achievements with a Carnival-style barbeque, which families were able to attend virtually over Zoom.
Every year, Journey Home West plans a graduation party for their graduating seniors, who have the choice to attend Layton High School (the local public school) or complete packet work from an accredited school, at the house. Each student and their family takes time to talk about their journey and accomplishments. This year, students celebrated a new achievement: gaining confidence in their study skills through remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One advantage that our students have had is that our program was already set up to do this as we have organized similar homeschooling schedules in the past to help students to graduate on time,” describes Program Director Eliza Quarnberg. “Everybody jumped in and problem-solved from day one what remote learning would look like at Journey Home West to ensure that students were prepared to graduate and continue to pursue their postsecondary education goals.”
Eliza reports, “It was a natural transition for students to apply the study skills that they’ve learned with our new schedule structure. The students remained motivated, understood expectations around the academic schedule, and utilized the resources that were available to them if they needed additional support. For most students, remote learning helped boost their confidence and self-esteem as they saw that they were able to do it themselves.”
All students at Journey Home West graduated with As and Bs and their plans to attend college in the fall have not been affected. In fact, one student who had planned to take a gap year decided that after her success with remote learning, she was motivated to apply to colleges. Another student’s academic achievements were rewarded with a full ride to her dream school.
In addition to the graduation ceremony at Journey Home West, students participated in a small outdoor ceremony on the high school’s football field, which staff were invited to attend, following social distancing guidelines.
Journey Home West is committed to helping students reach these milestones and celebrate their successes as they make progress towards their short and long term goals, through integrating students into the community and teaching practical life skills.
About Journey Home West
Journey Home West is a step-down community-based program for females ages 16-21 that provides structure for students while they learn independent living skills. Much of the structure and support provided by our 24/7 staffed home is managing electronic devices, managing free time and social life appropriately, and budgeting, shopping for groceries and cooking meals. Clients enrolling at Journey Home are transitioning from a therapeutic placement into young adulthood. They are provided with a therapist in the home to work on individual and family issues while attending school or working in the community.