FAIRMONT HEIGHTS – Although graduation is this week, Michelle Adams already knows she is ready for the real world and that is thanks, in part, to Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection of Prince George’s County. Adams, a senior at Fairmont Heights High School, overcame personal obstacles to ultimately find a second home at the high school with […]
FAIRMONT HEIGHTS – Although graduation is this week, Michelle Adams already knows she is ready for the real world and that is thanks, in part, to Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection of Prince George’s County.
Adams, a senior at Fairmont Heights High School, overcame personal obstacles to ultimately find a second home at the high school with help from her school-based youth advocate Je’Tiya Royster.
“It’s been a bunch of different experiences. I’ve had great friendships with a lot of people, grew a lot of bonds with teachers. I’m really going to miss school,“ Adams said.
It was during Adams’ freshman year at Fairmont Heights that her mother signed her up for the Hillside program after hearing about the opportunities it could afford her. Hillside is a youth program focused on helping at-risk students become college and career-ready by partnering students with a mentor and helping students with life skills.
The program Adams enrolled in, titled the Youth Employment Training Academy, ultimately helped her acquire a number of professional and life skills to assist her in getting a job.
Royster, as Adams’ youth advocate, helped her through the struggles and monitored her progress by making sure she both kept her grades up and was performing well at her job.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” Royster said. “It’s always hard to balance personal life, working and school when you are a teenager. So, to watch her be able to balance these three aspects of her life, I’m extremely proud of her because she’s done such an awesome job at it.”
Through Hillside, Adams got hands-on job training, learning the do’s and don’ts in on-the-job behavior, how to create a resume and how to interview. She also found a “second mom” in Royster, who helped her through the rough patches.
“I heard they’d get me a job and since middle school I wanted a job. So, I was excited. I was like ‘yeah I want to be part of that,’” she said. “You also have personal life help. My youth advocate, Ms. Royster, became like a second mom to me. If I have problems, I know I can just go to her.”
Through the program, Adams said she gained confidence, overcame her fear of public speaking and she learned that it’s okay to talk about your emotions.
“Michelle is a strong and independent individual,” Royster said. “She’s gone through a lot of personal trials and tribulations and even though she has, she has not let that stop her from completing high school.”
It was not just a job and personal life Adams juggled while in high school. She sought out rigor in Advanced Placement classes, ultimately graduating with above a 3.5 grade point average. She participated in jROTC as the S3 training and operations officer, was the secretary for the school student government association and a member of the National Honor Society.
Adams will attend Stevenson University on the dean’s scholarship (more than $18,000 a year.) She plans to study accounting with the hopes of one day owning her own company. Her dream is to own rental properties and to renovate houses.