BOISE, Idaho — Frank Church High School is an alternative school in the Boise School District and has a special goal of helping students who have dropped out, or maybe at risk of dropping out of traditional schools, graduate.
“I think it's a huge blessing, Frank Church is such a gift to the Boise School District. So, being able to support our students every day where they are is such an impressive thing to get to do every day. Every kid has their own journey,” Erin Kubena, one of Frank Church High School’s Vice Principals, said.
The high school has not one, but two vice principals. Erin Kubena and Tammy Burks are talented and caring women who are determined to be there for their students. They are dedicated to being a part of that path to graduation for hundreds of kids, with the goal of their students showing up daily and earning their credits.
“That's a conversation we have with a lot of the kids, just walk through the door, and we'll figure out what the day needs to look like,” Kubena explained.
Frank Church High School is a great fit for teen parents, but sometimes having a baby and going to high school just doesn't mix. “Things happen, babysitters cancel, it doesn't work out, life happens and so how we help them depends on the situations that arise,” Burks said.
Two seniors with babies recently found themselves in a tough spot during finals. Senior Emily Griswold had no childcare on the testing day for her baby boy and was worried she would have to miss her tests.
“I was really stressed out about finding a babysitter,” Griswold said.
Nadiya Al-Tememy was in the same boat that day, she’s the mother of a baby girl.
“I was just so worried that I wouldn't be able to do it,” Al-Tememy recalled.
“They needed a place for their kiddos to be that day,” Kubena said. "We're like bring them, we'll figure it out, we'll help. We're a team, we work together and we help. Both of us sat with other kids dealing with other issues, both of us holding kiddos, and our community embraced it and they were like, okay, that's what today looks like.”
These two women would do anything for their students, and that includes a little babysitting.
“We got our baby cuddles, too,” Burks quipped.
Thanks to this pair of vice principals, the girls were able to take their finals and earn those important credits toward graduation. They are so grateful. Griswold and Al-Tememy said this is just one of the many things these women do to make their academic lives work.
“They are my go-to! they are so helpful and I don't know where I would be if I wasn't in this school,” Al-Tememy said.
“We want them to know, we're here for you. Whatever that needs to look like,” Burks said. “I think support is the key part because life is hard enough and why wouldn't we support them? Just walk through the door and we got you.”
We have good news to share. Nadiya A-Tememy graduated in December and will walk in the Spring! Emily Griswold is on course to graduate in the spring, too. They both are eager to work toward their careers and a better future for their babies. Graduating from high school is the first step in that process.
For more information about Frank Church High School and the great things that are happening there, check out the school's website.
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