Kathrina Collins, 19, has been on her own for some time. Coming from difficult circumstances and raised by her grandmother, she struggled academically, left school for a while and has been working full time and supporting herself for a couple of years.
She never intended to be a drop-out and always fought to find a way to earn her diploma. And so, after COVID-19 restrictions limited some of her other possible options, she came across the East Valley Parent Partnership, which is essentially a home-school program in which parents do the instruction for their children and meet weekly with a certified teacher from the district.
It wasn’t exactly structured for Collins’ situation, but it turned out to be a perfect fit. She does her coursework online on her own and meets weekly, in person or online, with EV teacher Sheldon Durr, all the while working full time as a fast food restaurant assistant manager and maintaining her own residence (now shared with her fiancé).
“She is responsible, the ideal student,” Durr said. “She is so self-driven and self-reliant, and her determination to graduate was outstanding, even through it meant an extra year of studies.”
Never one to take credit, Collins said her grandmother said it was a good thing to do, as did her fiancé, who told her “you’ll be glad you did.”
After working a full day, she does one or two hours of school work and does the rest on weekends. She’s never earned a grade lower than a B and maintains a 3.7 GPA.
She does enjoy doing food service work and is taking a restaurant management class, although Durr said she could now pass with flying colors, based on her experience.
Collins doesn’t have much spare time, but she does enjoy going out with her fiancé on late drives, when there’s no traffic, and swimming at nearby lakes. Her happiest memory is when he proposed at the top of the trail while hiking Liberty Lake.
Collins’ younger sister, Angel Major, 18, is also enrolled at EV’s Parent Partnership and also works. Durr takes note of how big sister is helping younger sister by taking the time to guide her and learn how to be a successful student while working full time.
It is stressful sometimes, Collins said, but she has her eye on the prize. “This is a goal I wanted and have worked for. I will have really achieved something.”