Dale was raised in a New Hampshire mill town straddling the Cochecho River. High school was not easy. He came from a family of limited resources. Dale was bullied by classmates. He moved to Vermont and encountered further troubles, exacerbated by past trauma. He left school during senior year, just shy of earning his diploma.
Today, this proud father of two school-aged children is back on track with the goal of becoming a self-employed auto mechanic. As a VAL student, Dale is making steady progress to graduate from high school and apply to the automotive mechanics program at a Vermont technical center. Dale is focused, eager and has built positive relationships with his teachers and academic advisor. He recognizes that he has an affinity for working with his hands. He maintains his car on his own, changing the oil and taking on larger tasks such as replacing brakes.
“I love working on cars,” Dale said. “Actually, I love working on anything. I took a small engine repair class in high school. We fixed all sorts of things, including weed wackers. I want to have a shop where I can work on any car—gas, electric, diesel. I don’t want to be in an office. I want to work for myself. I want to wake up, have breakfast with my wife and kids and walk across the lawn to my shop. I feel better working with my hands.”
Taking classes towards his high school diploma at VAL has opened Dale up to all sorts of learning. He now understands how stocks work—thanks to a personal finance class—and has started making small investments. Algebra is no longer a mystery. He’s learning that he is an ambitious person, willing to work hard.
“Every single teacher has helped me in their own way,” Dale said. “I like how, if I don’t understand something, I can ask the teacher to explain it another way. In high school, I didn’t really have a lot of hope. There were lots of obstacles. Coming to VAL, I’m really doing well, asking lots of questions and applying myself.”
“Dale came to VAL to complete his high school degree last fall and since the very start has been excelling,” said Andrea Fine, Academic Advisor. “He’s incredibly engaged in his classes and projects and is even applying the skills he’s learned to endeavors he’s pursuing in his personal life, such as investing. His plans are to finish up his degree within the next few months, and he will be applying to attend the Center for Technology Essex to learn about Automotive Technology. I should also mention that Dale has a phenomenal attitude!”
“I’ve come a long way,” Dale said. “I don’t want my kids to go through what I went through. I’m moving ahead. If you work for something, doors open. If you’re willing to apply yourself, VAL will help you. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without VAL.”
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