Michelle Reckley knows what it means to get a second chance.
And, she vows to make the most of it.
Four years ago she was on the verge of ending her academic
career, she hated school and was being told "by everyone there
is" that she was worthless and would never amount to anything.
This fall she plans to enter Oklahoma State University and
work toward becoming a clinical psychologist working with hearing
After graduating from high school June 2, she plans to work
this summer as a temporary replacement for office employees,
using the business and computer skills she learned her last four
years in high school.
What brought about the transformation is the Skills and
Academic Grant Education program offered jointly by Metro Tech
and Oklahoma City Public Schools. The program, begun in the fall
of 1983, is designed to help students who have problems, either
emotional or chemically related, and help them through high
"When I came here (four years ago), I was supposed to be a
sophomore in high school but I only had three credits (toward
graduation)," she said. "I was told by everyone that I was
worthless and that I had better shape up, that I would never
amount to anything. But I hated school and I just refused to go.
I probably didn't attend classes more than 20 percent of the
"After interviewing here, I was told that this was my last
hope, if I failed here, there was nowhere else to go. They told
me and my mother that they would take me out of the normal
classroom setting and allow me to learn through experience and
"It has been great. I love this program. The teachers have
worked with me to provide individual attention, but they have
kept us working in a group so that we could develop these skills
that we didn't have."
Reckley's reaction is typical of the students attending the
vocational type program, said Campus Director Stephen J. Prieto.
"This program was developed to help students who couldn't
learn through the traditional classroom situation," he said. "In
fact, our teachers had to learn to teach the individual, not a
class, because there is such a broad range of academic and age
"One student may be technically in the 10th or 11th grade, but
reading on a third or fourth grade level. That student must be
taught differently than a student who is reading on a much higher
level but is having different problem."
Most courses are taught through the applied program, that is
allowing students to see how their lessons are applied in the
"One thing that we've done is that I'm president of the FBLA
(Future Business Leaders of America) and we have to do a certain
number of community projects a year," Reckley said. "So the main
campus wants us to provide some fliers and other printed stuff
for them. In this way, we're using right now what we learned in
class. We know that this will be necessary in the business world
and we can see how our desk top publishing is important to
getting and keeping a job."
Reckley will use her desk top publishing and other computer
skills to help pay her way through college. …