It is pushing 8:00 p.m. on a Tuesday and two teachers and a paraeducator from Roberts High School in Salem, Oregon, are wrapping up their second family home visit of the evening.
As the sun sets on the carefully coiffed lawn of the Alvarez family, the Roberts’ team of Ranada Young, Lauren Rasca, and Jackelin Mariaca stop on the sidewalk to admire the bonsai-style trees trimmed to perfection by Giovanni Alvarez, a senior at Roberts and owner of Gio’s Landscaping Services.
“Did you do this?” asks Young, a teacher. “Amazing!”
Young, Rasca, also a teacher, and Mariaca, a bilingual instructional assistant, are not as fresh as when they visited their first family, two hours and 12 miles ago. But the yellow-orange glow falling on Giovanni’s manicured grass and blooming flowers lifts their spirits with pride.
“This kid is going places,” declares a beaming Young.
Giovanni, the student-entrepreneur, was not always going places. The soft-spoken and dapper 17-year-old was expelled from a previous school but is now set to graduate this year from Roberts Structured Learning Center, which serves students on expulsion in affiliation with Roberts High School.