Conejo Valley High School often offers students a home when they can’t find one in a more traditional high school setting.
For Miguel Marquez, 18, finding CVHS meant graduating on schedule.
“I didn’t have enough credits before at Thousand Oaks High School,” Miguel said.
“I was not turning in work or homework, hanging out with friends and family, not enough motivation. I’m more motivated at Conejo Valley. I enjoyed the teachers, the smaller school.”
A hands-on learning environment, students were exposed to auto mechanics when Oxnard College paid a visit. Miguel has decided to pursue it as a career path.
“My parents wanted me to go into engineering, but I wanted mechanics.”
Of all the school’s teachers, Miguel said he is closest to social sciences teacher Kyle Scalise, he said. Marquez stayed after school to recover credits with Scalise, but he also stayed to hang around.
Whatever the reason, it worked. Miguel graduates with a 3.6 GPA.
Aria Turner, 17, also turned her scholastic life around. She came to CVHS two years ago after falling behind at Newbury Park High School, she said.
“I got there in danger of not graduating,” she said. “I didn’t want to go. I wanted to be in a ‘normal’ school with my friends.”
At CVHS, Aria was, not only able to recover her credits, she surpassed it and graduated a year early.
“I was able to get all my classes with (digital learning platform) APEX,” she said. “My pace was two to three weeks for a class. I got a year’s worth of biology in two weeks.”
Aria combined her go-at-your-own pace APEX lessons with in-person classes in English, algebra, economics, geometry and physical education.
“I actually liked it all,” she said. “The classes were smaller, and the teachers have time to help you.”
Aria, the first person in her family to attend college, will start at Cal Lutheran University in the fall. She aspires to become an English teacher.
“I’m very excited and a little nervous.”
Conejo Valley High School may have a dragon for a mascot, but instead of being mythical beasts to be slayed, students were doing the slaying this year. They slayed stereotypes, discouragement, old attitudes, fear and roadblocks.
This year, 60 of them are new graduates.