Success Stories

  • Melchazedaz, 2016 Graduate

    A student who Victory at Hillcrest Learning Center won’t soon forget is Melchazedaz (better known as “Mel”).

    “He’s a friend to everyone,” said Ms. Amener Williams, HOPE’s Victory at Hillcrest Learning Center Co-Director. “There were a number of circumstances which could have prevented him from graduating. But he has worked hard and persevered.”

    Mel started at HOPE’s Victory at Hillcrest in 6th grade. The option came as a recommendation from a friend of his family.

    “I decided to try online. I like working at my own pace,” said Mel.

    Mel has seen the HOPE learning model help him manage anger and focus on school more. He has also improved his reading and math skills.

    “I found where I fit in,” said Mel.

    Mel comes from a very supportive family. His parents had him very young. He will be the second grandson on his paternal side and the first on his maternal side to graduate from high school. Today Mel lives with his paternal grandmother. In 2014, his great-grandfather, who he refers to as grandpa, passed away. This was a hard life transition for Mel.

    “He was my role model,” said Mel. His grandmother is also someone who Mel looks up to and appreciates all that she does for her family, just like his “grandpa” did.

    Mel has become an integral part of the Victory at Hillcrest community. He has made many friends and is well liked by many of the Learning Center and HOPE staff. Mel attends many of HOPE’s activities, with Prom being his favorite, and is a frequent spectator at HOPE sporting events.

    “I tell my friends all the time about HOPE,” said Mel. “You don’t get lost here. People know where I am at, and I know where I should be with my studies.”

    This summer, Mel is planning to move to Atlanta with his family where he will attend Paul Mitchell to train to do hair, makeup and nails. Mel is known for his sense of style. A group of teachers at HOPE’s Victory at Hillcrest Learning Center took him to the Goodwill Fashion Show in 2015.

    Mel’s classmates hope that his summer move won’t be the last they will see of him.

    “They tell me they are going to miss me and to come back and visit. I will definitely be there for the future HOPE graduations of my friends,” said Mel.