Alternative Learning Center Brings Hope to Local Students

Posted at: 09/06/2013 9:30 PM
Updated at: 09/10/2013 11:50 AM
By: Sean Boswell

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- For many kids, hope can be hard to find, and the rigors of school can be hard to handle.  The Rochester Public School District’s New Alternative learning Center, which opened earlier this week, is providing support for those kids.

"They’ll do anything to make sure I'm on the right track," said Alex Mathias, a senior at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center.

He says he's lucky to be here.

"Honestly I was going nowhere at a mainstream school. I honestly didn't think I had a future there. I skipped more classes than I did come," said Mathias.

Mathias describes the ALC as a place of support, you could say almost like a family.

"When you say hello here you mean it. Like everyone knows everyone and this is why we got the new school which is great, it's still real homey here," said Mathias.

He's not alone. For some of the students, their family is here, but not attending classes. Senior Katie Mauseth's 4-month-old son is in the ALC's day care program.

"He's like right there, I can go in there during lunch and check on him and they have the big open window so you can see him whenever," said Mauseth.

Teacher Leah Baethke believes there's a misperception of the students who attend.

"These kids are just awesome. People who encounter all kinds of challenges that are just unfathomable to most people and they still come to school and they still graduate and are still successful," said Baethke.

Some of the students also work full time jobs, are deal with mental health issues or just unable to adjust to the rigors of a typical school day.

"The students here tend to have pretty rich life experiences and they're dealing with a lot of issues that students in mainstream schools might not necessarily be dealing with," said Baethke.

Students like Alex Mathias.

"They've gone above and beyond what they should have," said Baethke.