As a teenager, Diante Gibbs didn’t have much of a vision for his future.
He had never had a father growing up and when his mother passed away just before his freshman year of high school, leaving him in the care of his aunt and uncle, he felt the need to rebel. He ended up dropping out of high school during his senior year, when he was kicked out of his home and needed to work full time.
“I decided to just go through with it,” he said. “I’m going to put in the time and effort. I like working with my hands. When it comes to technology, I’m really good at it. I went ahead and did it and I just stuck with it.”
Diante fell in love with the hands-on experiences the program offers.
“Diante was enthusiastic and eager to help where he could fit and early on volunteered to become an ambassador,” said Jacob Yrigoyen, Diante’s instructor. “He wore that hat pridefully and helped at graduation and any school events. He was open and honest and ready to help or assist anyone.”
Even though Diante enjoyed the program, sticking with it and breaking his pattern of quitting was difficult.
“I was going to give up like three months before finishing but I told myself I need to finish,” he said. “A lot of my friends, my housemates, my sister, that support group kept telling me ‘You’re almost there, you’re doing good, you come home talking about it so much you must be enjoying it. Keep doing it.’ Just the support they gave me and the initiative, I wanted to actually complete it.”
“If all students applied themselves as much as Diante, students would graduate even more confidently and hit the field running after graduation,” Mr. Yrigoyen said.
The process helped Diante grow in ways he didn’t expect.
“I became more focused, detail oriented as well as a lot more mature,” he said. “I was making stupid decisions before, not planning things ahead of time and waiting till the last minute to do things. When I decided to go back, I had a mindset of staying structured… Having an education was a steppingstone for me, getting me to where I am.”
Diante was able to find work after graduation but plans to return to school soon to study something new. He’s excited about the possibility of gaining training in several different areas.
“If you don’t know the right path usually it’s just because you haven’t gotten started,” he said. “Once you start and you continue through it, you’ll notice the end is right around the corner. Don’t give up.”