One Orange County School in a low-income area is boasting a 90% graduation rate -- their highest ever.
Instructors at Evans High School, located in Pine Hills, say part of the school’s success is due to a program called HUB.
The program is sponsored by several community organizations, as well as the University of Central Florida. HUB provides access to nutritious meals and connects students with tutoring, mentors, clubs and activities.
A Wellness Cottage, with medical providers and a dentist, is located on campus as well.
“All these organizations came together, along with Orange County Public Schools, and worked for the well-being to educate the whole child,” said Jenny L. Gibson-Linkh, the principal of Evans High School.
Jarvis Wheeler, who went to Evans and grew up in Pine Hills, is now the program director of HUB. Wheeler said he made a vow to return to the school and improve conditions for students.
“The ceilings for our students at Evans are just as high as any other school,” he said. “But the ground floor is where they may not be on the same page.”
That’s why programs empowering students, teaching them to be health ambassadors and mentors, are so important, Wheeler said.
The program tries to instill in students a sense of responsibility and purpose; that, in tandem, keeps them focused on their academics.
The Wellness Cottage is a service open to the community as well. For those without insurance, visit fees are on a sliding scale based upon income. To schedule an appointment, go to the Wellness Cottage website.