San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 28th, 2008
Pathfinder Graduation

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On Friday, April 18, 2008, family and friends of twelve seniors from the San Marcos CISD Pathfinder Learning Center, met at 2 pm in the San Marcos High School Performing Arts Center to celebrate their graduation. The graduates included:

Back Row, left to right: Joseph Ayers, Ricky Enriquez, Joseph Gutierrez, Jeremy Mendoza, David Salinas
Front Row, left to right: Ashley Hernandez, Richelle Bieberich, Diana Schlotter, Bibiana Villarreal, Elena Vargas
Not shown: Nikki Grein and Eric Salgado

Photo by: Mike Montgomery

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29 thoughts on “Pathfinder Graduation

  1. Is there some reason we’re celebrating that fact that these outstanding young peformers couldn’t seem to graduate from San Marcos High School?

  2. We are reporting the fact that they graduated. I am not sure how that could be construed as not worthy of celebrating. I commend them for what they have done regardless of what path they took to the accomplishment.

  3. Amy Gutierrez…are you retarded? Most of the kids at Pathfinders are graduating year or more early than their class if they were at San Marcos High School!! Check your facts so you don’t show all of us just how simple you are. Did you graduate?

  4. Furthermore, Amy…these kids are eligible to walk with the graduating class at SMHS, but they also have a Pathfinders only graduation. They ARE graduating from SMHS…it’s still San Marcos CISD, just different program, different campus. Maybe you should apply?

  5. Thoughts and opinions like these are why we have absolutely no standards in San Marcos schools today. Anyone bother to find out why almost 1/3 of the kids we have “graduating” from high school in San Marcos seem to do so through an alternative program and not through the high school itself?

    Technically yes, they’re graduating from SMHS because they get a diploma. If graduating from the high school isn’t all that important, then why don’t we send all the SMHS students through Pathfinder or Pride? Anyone bother to check the backgrounds on these kids and really find out what’s going on?

    If these programs are for the allstars, then why don’t Wimberley and Dripping Springs have alternative programs? I can tell you why. They’re not willing to settle for mediocrity.

    As an employer, you’d see someone graduating from Pride or Pathfinder as the same because they have the SMHS diploma. They’re not the same….they couldn’t cut it in the approved program, so they have to find another way to get their “diploma.” They can’t cut the mustard.

    Wake up, you. What’s happening is you have a bunch of 16 year olds going down there, sitting for 6 weeks, and graduating without doing the work. Then, you have a “graduated” 16 year old out there on the streets with no ability to get a job or support themselves, and many of these folks don’t have the mental maturity to do anything productive with themselves and they’re just adding to the crime rate and police workload around this town.

    Ask a police officer, keep an open mind, and investigate yourself. You may think these 2 programs are the best thing since sliced bread, but I can tell you first hand that they’re just a smokescreen that continues to allow SMCISD to cover the fact that the dropout rate is almost 33% at the high school level in this town.

    I should know. My daughter graduated from Pathfinder so that she could legally run away at 17. Go find out for yourself and see how many other kids are doing it.

  6. Maybe your daughter couldn’t cut the mustard, but that does not apply to all the children at Pathfinders. Pride is different; it is a last ditch effort to try and graduate with your class. If a child doesn’t care about the social aspect of high school or doesn’t feel it necessary to take a lot of meaningless electives, including sports, Pathfinders is a good program. Furthermore, Pride is its own high school; Pathfinders is not. I’m sure you know how important that is when it comes time to apply to college. An accredited school vs. non-accredited makes a huge difference. Why must you generalize? You shouldn’t assume that every kid in Pathfinders (or Pride, for that matter) is like your daughter. One of the children in that picture is the daughter of a well respected doctor in this town, and a wonderful parent. I can guarantee she is not at Pathfinders because she couldn’t cut the mustard. She is there to graduate early because she is that much ahead of her class and is ready for college level work, which is also offered at Pathfinders, free of charge. This school district does not have magnet programs like are all over this country, they seem to want to keep all children on the same level. I dealt with that problem when my daughter started kindergarten and was not allowed to participate in the AR program because the other children in her class could not read. I was told that they try to keep all children on the same level. Screw that. I don’t want my child held back because another parent didn’t care to teach their child anything before starting school. I feel the same way about Pathfinders. If you are ahead that much, it is a good program to take advantage of with all the academic benefits with none of the fluff.

  7. LOL ok so here we go to AMY GUTIERREZ… i am a graduate from pathfinders and honestly why are you hating? doesn’t matter if we graduate from san marcos high school or an alternative school fact of the matter is that we graduated with a DIPLOMA! forget the reasons why most of us transferred cause its all in the past and im now a licensed cosmetologist and goin to school for medical assistant as well i have a daughter too but negativity and people like you won’t stop me or anyone thats committed to graduating dont see why u make such a big deal over this…and well sorry to say about your daughter we’re not all like that and maybe its ur parenting skills. ever think about that one lol!

  8. Wow. Bibiana makes Amy’s point very clearly, illustrating the low standards we have for our kids here in San Marcos.

  9. I read Bibiana’s comment several times, and I’m not sure what the next 2 comments meant about “low standards”…(OK- Take away the fact that she’s a young adult and using slang and texting shorthand), but I hear her saying that, yes she did something as a teenager that changed her life. I guess that’s when she had a baby. I imagine there’s a lot of sexually active teenagers at the high school (and yes, some from “good” families w/high standards!). The young women of course are the ones that carry the weight of that decision. Some high schoolers have parents that take of a “problem pregnancy” and some don’t. But lots of teenagers do reckless things. Big reckless things- like have babies. And “good families w/high standards”, well, their children also do these things. Obviously Bibiana took our grown-up advice and got a degree. Don’t we tell our kids to do that? She also followed through to get a licensed job and is now pursuing a way to expand her job opportunities. I think PathFinders did exactly what it was supposed to do- provided an efficient plan to get a degree when you have challenging hardships and responsiblities. Don’t undermine the work these graduates did to get a degree.

  10. Making excuses for the fact that these kids can’t write is precisely the problem. I’m not undermining the work these kids do. I’m blasting our school district for it’s ridiculously low standards, and the parents who don’t care. Maybe if we stopped providing free day care for the 80 kids a year having babies in our District and put those resources into encouraging these girls to become something better…
    (And as a side, I feel very comfortable commenting on the subject: I dropped out of high school and moved out of my father’s house in my senior year. I made some monumental mistakes and came dangerously close to ruining my life. It took me two years to get back “on track”. I got my GED and went to ACC. So I don’t need the lecture on teenagers doing reckless things. The fact that I went through what I did has made me a better mother and my kids kick ass in school, in some part due to the very high standard we have set. They will not be repeating my mistakes while I breathe air.)

  11. I think both sides have valid points. The writing is sloppy and plagued with online slang and shorthand, but it is no worse (sadly) than much of what I have seen from graduates of many public schools in the area. In fact, unlike a lot of what I see, her writing (and her point) is fairly easily understood.

    The problem, I think, is that the schools have been bad enough, for long enough, that people don’t really have a frame of reference to tell them that things could be so much better. So, while schools in the Northeast concentrate on how many of their graduates go on to Ivy League schools, we concentrate on how many can pass the TAKS test.

    That being said, as a former “at risk” student, I am happy to see programs like this for the students who need them. I just wish we had more programs and/or fewer students who needed them. The photo above shows ten graduates. That’s about 2.5% of the SMCISD graduating class for their year.

    Meanwhile, 30% of our economically disadvantaged students (who make up most of our population) don’t graduate and 85% of them have no real shot at college.

    So, rather than get down on these ten kids, who made the best of a terrible situation, let’s think about the other 300+ who are leaving each year with little more than a worthless piece of paper (if they are lucky).

  12. In the continuing pursuit of academic excellence within SMISD, perhaps we could incorporate a curriculum for “texting slang” into the school system, to further promote proficiency in that discipline, as well as augment self-esteem.

    That type of special needs, outside-the-box thinking, distinguished the educational approach of the California school system, with the discovery of Ebonics.

    Perhaps we can also persuade Texas State University to set up a program, that will award a university degree based on an individual’s particular needs and life experience.

  13. Sarcasm aside, I believe what is missing is some sort of coaching about formal vs. informal communication.

  14. I received a lot of coaching in school, actually. That was my point.

    Frankly, I am not even sure what you are arguing with me about, or even if you are arguing with me. So, perhaps one (or both) of us had a less than perfect education after all.

  15. It appears that for many, the education process was sorely lacking in the “manners department”.

    Is our school system in poor condition? Yes. However, I don’t think that this is an appropriate forum for that discussion.

    This article was written to congratulate the twelve kids who received their diplomas from the Pathfinder program.

    There are plenty of places to get on to the internet and complain about the public education system…let’s not trample all over their moment by doing it here.

    I realize that this article is now a year and a half old, and that someone just dragged it up….but just for a moment think how you would feel if you were one of those kids reading the comments posted here.

  16. Dano;

    As you stated, the “moment” was a year and a half ago.

    The “problem” still exists.

    In no way am I disparaging the students for their accomplishment in getting through the academic system, by whatever means that they were able to achieve that success.

    Where the fault lies, is in the thinking of the “adults” who set this up, due to their own inadequacies, their desire to improve their own image as educators, and their slothful unwillingness to address the root issues which plague our youth and educational system at large.

    And if we cannot discuss that here and now, (a year and a half later) then where, and when?

  17. On language. In reference to another poster, “In fact, unlike a lot of what I see, her writing (and her point) is fairly easily understood.”, Ted Marchut squarely nails it.
    It seems to me the point of language is to be understood. Ebonics, txt, l33t, -even poorly edited academic journals all have this in common, do they not?
    English doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It evolves -organically. People do not serve language. Language serves people.
    Who can say what proper English should look like?

    But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
    That ye n’ arette it nat my vileynye,
    Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
    To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
    Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
    For this ye knowen al so wel as I:
    Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
    He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
    Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
    Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
    Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
    Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
    He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
    He moot as wel seye o word as another.
    Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
    And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
    Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,
    The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.

    Geoffrey Chaucer
    Canterbury Tales, General Prologue Lines 725-742

    P.S.
    Congratulations to the graduates.

  18. Congratulations to Chaucer and the rest of the grads. How about a where are they now piece on one of these classes 5 or 6 years ago? Anecdotes aside, alternate graduation programs were created to make the core high school numbers look better, but now the state seems to count the whole pool against the district. So are the programs helpful to the participants? Do the programs prepare them for success? Are other districts doing things that are more effective?

  19. I will take a measure of solace in knowing that the graduates of SMISD, in their efforts to communicate, will at least be able to be understood

  20. C. North- I don’t think I made an excuse about kids not being able to write. I have read other posters use texting style messages in their writing. It’s a common way to communicate. Should guidelines be set on public forums? Also, I didn’t mean to come across as lecturing. There seemed to be some misunderstandings about students who attend PathFinders. Sometimes it could be that a student missed many days due to illness, a family death or circumstances out of the student’s control. I’m glad you were able to turn your life around, and maybe we’ll be reading a letter very similar to yours from Bibiana in 10 or 20 years! PS- Be careful when saying your kids would NEVER do something 🙂

  21. i think pathfinders help me alot!! i got into a fight at san marcos high school so they sent me to rebound. when i went there i only had 4 credits & when i was done with rebound i came out with 8, they asked me to go to pathfinders so i could just finish school already so i went & when i got out of there i had 13 credits and i was only going there for not even 1 month so they helped ALOT! i would have stayed there but i moved to austin, i kno if i would have stayed there i would already be out of school and on with college!

  22. Okay, well first off I am also a pathfinder graduate so lets see if your little simple life can messure up! Like majority of the kids that are attending or attended the program have probly had a harder life then every single one of these old gentelmen put togather. Is it that hard to rap your head around that, my freind who also graduated from the program, was seriosly beaten almost everyday by his step dad and could not stand the ridacouls he was reciving at the high school, by the prepy lilttle kids you have raised. You look at every kid like they have the same story but everyone who attends Pathfinders has differnt reason than the next. If anyone is messing up the city its YOU, cause you have to point your finger at somebody and can’t just accept that maybe it’s your fault too. And so what if the ebonics txt writting isnt good enough for you, well you know what dont F***ing read it go find something esle to complane about. Also for some reason that you think everyone who graduates doesnt do anything with their lives, well you are not even close to being right. Shortly after I graudated, I moved to another town and moved up very quickly at my job and now on the board of directors, and probly make more then every single one of the old sonby men who just need to buy a corvette and get over it already. And if you cant buy one I will buy one for you, so stop crying and fix the problem yourself instead of just wineing about it!!!

  23. Wow, I googled my name and one of the links brought me here.

    2 years later I see what people said about me and my classmates graduating. I graduated a year early, I passed…we all passed the same tests students at SMHS took, and not to mention I got commended in Math and Writing. But according to the negative comments We are all stupid criminals that wanted to runaway from our parents? Because we grauduated from an alternative school? Haha, Are you serious?

    I have never gotten in trouble in my life, Im a good hearted person and I don’t understand why people always have to try to bring someone else down. If I read this back than at 17 it would of hurt me but right now I know and see some people are just ignorant and make too many assumptions about people they dont even know. Im pretty sure a majority of you all are parents and i cant believe that parents would be a part of cyber bullying….This is our life if we want to celebrate that we recieved our diplomas by taking a picture the day of than thats our buisness and if you have nothing nice to say dont say it at all. Your opinion is not needed.

    Thanks,
    Ashley H

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