Brandon and his mom

Brandon's story

January 24, 2022

Brandon was facing an uphill climb to get to graduation. As a teenager, Brandon was, in the words of VOA High School Director Wendy Smith, “just the guy who took care of his family.” Helping support his mom who has health issues, Brandon worked 50-60 hours a week at a local restaurant, making payments for his family home as well as various living expenses. Struggling with too many burdens and too long hours, he fell behind in school. 

There are many reasons why students may fall behind on the credits they need to graduate and VOA High School is there to bridge the gap for students to achieve success in school, career, and life. 

Brandon enrolled in VOA High School, following in the footsteps of his older brother and sister, because he knew the school had the flexible scheduling he and his family needed. It was a steep hill to climb when he started, but then came the tumult of a pandemic, distance learning, and upheaval all around Minneapolis to make it even more difficult.

Teachers and staff at VOA High School supported him all the way through his journey, keeping him engaged with the curriculum, accommodating the needs of his work and family schedule, and providing on-site supportive services. 

Brandon also appreciated the individual attention. “They spent time to work one on one with me. When you go to a big school they teach you in a big group and there are too many things going on that keep you from learning,” Brandon said.

It took Brandon over seven years to finish high school, but he stuck with it, and graduated in October of 2021. Now that he’s a high school graduate, Brandon hopes to attend trade school and get a job in construction as a contractor.

With support from the people at VOA High School, Brandon now has hope that he can build a fulfilling career and make things better for himself and for his family.