Local commission honors OECD alternative education students for personal reflections of hope and resilience – OECD Newsroom

A local commission that defends the cause of imprisoned young people gives students enrolled in the OECD’s alternative education program the opportunity to express themselves in writing.

In partnership with the OECD and the Orange County Probation Department, the Orange County Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) held its fourth annual essay competition to honor current and post-secondary students not only for their resilience, but for their personal expression.

Throughout October, young people enrolled in Otto A. Fischer and Rio Contiguo schools – two detention and treatment centers run by the OECD ACCESS program – were invited to write personal and reflective essays. on the themes of “Hope and me”, “If I could change the world” and “What do others think of me”.

Below is a brief excerpt from a tenth grader’s submission titled “Hope for the Hopeless”.

“I hope I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and all I can say is that my path gradually clears as I overcome the obstacles that life puts in my way. So, you see, how does an individual feel about hope when the hopeless surrounds him? Now, all they need is a burst of light. An exit. Just that person or situation to completely change a person. We are all on a path and some of us take a detour, years or decades, but it is never too late to get back on the right path where we enjoy a life full of hope and happiness. , something that my old self was missing.

The trials were judged by a five-member jury and a ceremony was held virtually on October 19. Prizes were awarded to the first, second and third place winners as well as eight honorable mentions. The winners received a gift card, a writing journal and a certificate of the commission.

Richard Berman, veteran Otto A. Fischer professor, said organizers this year chose to accept applications not only from current students but also from post-secondary students, resulting in a record 72 nominations. And for the first time, handwritten and typed essays have been accepted to accommodate students who may not have access to the technology.

“The essays, which were extremely deep and thoughtful, provide an opportunity for students to put their ideas, thoughts and feelings into words,” Berman said. “The project is always empowering and gives students the opportunity to freely share their personal journey, their family situation and their experience both in and out of detention.”

The OECD ACCESS program – the acronym for Alternative, Community and Correctional Education Schools and Services – serves more than 10,000 students per year, including young people who have encountered significant academic and social barriers, as well as students who thrive in non-traditional settings. To learn more about ACCESS Juvenile Hall schools and programs, visit the ministry’s website.


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