When New Vision High School senior Braeden Pritchett looks back at his past four years, he says, he’s “shocked” at how he was able to turn things around.
From a self-described class clown and “hooligan,” who went from middle school to Post Falls, New Vision and the Kootenai Technical Education Campus, Pritchett is a case study in how self-awareness, even at a young age, can help one to change his life’s direction.
“Without New Vision, I probably would have dropped out of high school,” he said, “and I definitely wouldn’t have got as far as I have. A couple months ago, when I was applying to colleges and getting accepted into some, I stopped to think about how much things had changed for me.”
For him, New Vision was a second chance.
“I’ve never really been academically good, but I was a good kid until we moved to Tacoma during middle school. My behavior changed and I was hanging out with kids who were getting in trouble. My mom had got a good job in Tacoma, but our family support was here, and we moved back before high school.”
His behavior didn’t change much even after the move, he said.
“My old friends didn’t seem cool enough to me, and I fell in with a different crowd than I had before, and it wasn’t good for me,” he said.
With only five credits after three semesters at Post Falls, he knew that he wasn’t going to graduate if he didn’t change.
“At first, I hated the idea of transferring to New Vision, but my mom said this is where you’re going, whether you like it or not. I transferred midway through my sophomore year, and I hated it until the end of the year, until I looked back and saw how much work I had made up in a short time.”
New Vision is a small alternative high school designed for students with credit deficiencies or previous attendance problems. Academic interventions are in place at every level for every student. KTEC is a half-day program with technical and professional training designed around local, state and national standards. All instructors are experienced industry professionals who then entered the teaching field.
Braeden has been enrolled at KTEC for his junior and senior years in the Automotive Repair program, and in fact even graduated from New Vision several months early. He’s continuing his work at KTEC, though, in hopes of earning additional certifications that will qualify him to meet dealership and factory certifications as a technician.
“I had always tinkered with cars,” he said, “but a couple years ago I was working on an old Ford Galaxy with my grandfather and he said, ‘I was watching you, and you’re going to be a technician. It’s a family tradition, and it’s imprinted in your brain.’ ”
Pritchett realized he hadn’t thought about his future at that point, and he had no formal training.
“After that, though, a light bulb went on, and I decided to go to KTEC and really work at being a good student. I knew that KTEC had a good automotive repair program and that if I got my certifications, I could get any job I want.”
Braeden will enroll at North Idaho College this fall in the automotive program there, although he is undecided whether he’ll pursue the two- or four-year course of study.
Braeden’s counselor at New Vision, Brooke Crouse, sees a side of him beyond his technical skills, too.
“Braeden is super bright and intelligent. But what makes him so special is his kind and humble spirit. Anyone who spends even five minutes with Braeden can see how thoughtful and respectful he is.”
Joe Everson can be reached at email@example.com
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