Michael’s Story


This one is for all of us who work long hours in all sorts of educational organizations. Unless we actually have the honor of teaching, we are caught up in the business facets where somedays we feel like bureaucrats and other days we can’t remember how we got here. Once in a while, we score a great success for the future of kids. Unfortunately, once in a greater while, we are reminded why we are here.

My goal is to remind all of us who are not in the classroom…whether we are GPA staff or clients or friends…why we are here. And, I hope we get to remind everyone much more often than we do now.

This is Michael’s Story and it comes from one of our miracle working online teachers, Karen Padden. Just like she explains about Michael…. I’ve never seen Karen, but I know her and I know her heart even better.

Karen told me about Michael today:

“Michael was a 21-year-old high school student when he was enrolled in my Language Arts course.  He struggled with many disabilities, both physical and mental. Due to his doctor appointments and problems with medication he wasn’t able to finish his traditional classes.


Michael missed an entire year due to a horrible automobile accident that left him almost fully incapacitated. He feared he would never be able to graduate because he just couldn’t make up the credits.  Michael was frustrated, and his family tuned in to what GPA had to offer.

I had the pleasure to work with him on three different credit recovery courses. I found him so polite, and so eager to try to succeed. I know writing and reading weren’t strengths, so we made adaptations for him. I would respond to his texts as quickly as I could to keep his progress moving and his spirits up. He struggled more than any other student I have ever worked with, but he never gave up.

Michael finally completed enough of his credits to get his high school diploma thanks to GPA’s focus on him and his desire to graduate. I was, and remain, incredibly proud of him. Even though I’ve never met him face to face, I’ll never forget him.”

And that, my friends, is why we are here. Every day.


Pam Birtolo, President