Tulsa Tech’s Career Academy students spend half of each day earning high school credits in Math, Science, English, and Social Studies through a combination of teacher-led instruction and online, computerized learning. Students are offered credit recovery or “first time” credit courses, or assistance for GED exam preparation. The remaining half of each day is spent in a CareerTech training course available on campuses at Tulsa Tech.
Dyonea Mitchell, a former student at Edison High School, is one of many successful students currently enrolled in the Career Academy.
“By my sophomore year, my grades began to drop, and my GPA was a 2.0.,” Mitchell said. “Now some of my classes are college level courses, and I am making perfect grades, so the Career Academy has been a great fit for me.”
To further illustrate how well the Career Academy provides a rewarding, yet challenging learning environment, the current high school senior not only improved her academic performance, she also applied, and was recently appointed to the Tulsa Mayor’s Youth Council.
The Tulsa Mayor’s Youth Council is a learning organization designed to encourage high school students to become active in the community by participating in local government. Members of the Council get to see firsthand the many faces of city government in action, and learn to appreciate how each entity contributes to the city’s goals of public safety and quality of life. The selected members also learn about the political process and how youth in our region can have a voice in local government issues.
The daughter of Fran and Tyrone Mitchell had heard about the Mayor’s Youth Council, and was immediately interested, yet lacked the confidence to submit her application.
“I was very excited when I found out about the Council,” Mitchell said. “But didn’t really think I could do something like that. Then my counselor, Miss Orr, visited with me about my strengths as a student, and encouraged me to apply.”
Kori Orr, Counselor at the Career Academy, feels the most common misperception is these students are often the ‘bad kids’ or ‘those kids’ when in fact, it is usually the complete opposite.
“So many of these students are very talented,” Orr said. “They are kinesthetic learners, so they need to be hands-on, and in an environment where they can benefit from a little extra one-to-one instruction.”
The application process for the Mayor’s Youth Council requires interested students to submit a short essay explaining why they want to serve, outlining some of the issues they feel are important to youth in our area. Mitchell didn’t have to wait long to see if her counselor’s assessment and encouragement would pay off.
“Just a few days after I had submitted my application letter, I was checking my email, and discovered that I had been accepted,” Mitchell said. “I was so excited and couldn’t believe that it happened so fast.”
While the focus of the Mayor’s Youth Council of course is youth, with appointed students selected from various public high schools, private schools, and alternative schools, many of these issues affect everyone in our community, regardless of their age. Mitchell feels she has been given an exceptional opportunity to make a difference, and looks forward to working with other youth from across the Tulsa metro area.
“I really feel like with such a diverse group of students, from different parts of the community, we have a unique opportunity to really make a difference,” Mitchell said. “I feel if we can get the youth in Tulsa more involved, then we will generate more ideas, more solutions, and eventually more leaders.”
The Council began meeting in early October, and consists of approximately 20 students. Participants are given an exclusive, backstage pass to the City of Tulsa, as they work to develop leadership skills, learn how our local government works, and make recommendations based on the research and discussion of topics that affect citizens across the city.
Dyonea Mitchell is proud of her improved academic performance, and extremely honored to have been selected to serve on the Mayor’s Youth Council. She is also very quick to point out that without the support of others, including her Career Academy instructors, classmates, and especially her family, none of this would have probably ever happened.
“My parents and my younger sister Jasmine have been the biggest influences in my life,” Mitchell said. “I would really like to acknowledge them, along with everyone at the Career Academy, and thank them for everything they have done for me.”