Meet A Few of Our Recent High School Graduates

Alissa Dolegowski

Alissa heard about Hadley from her peers at the California School for the Blind. They were taking Hadley courses and spoke highly about the Hadley program, so Alissa decided to give it a try.

Alissa Dolegowski

What also motivated Alissa to make this decision was accessibility of materials, and the possibility of studying from the comfort of her home.

Alissa applied for the Hadley High School program in May of 2012 and began her journey towards her high school diploma. She completed 17 Hadley courses. Her favorite one was history, but she also enjoyed English classes very much. Alissa said that the English courses helped her become better in writing. She also says that thanks to Hadley’s English courses she spends more time reading than ever before. She spends the majority of her free time reading books now. Another Hadley course, the Human Eye, helped Alissa understand the anatomy of the eye and the eye treatments she has been receiving.

"Hadley has been both, a thrilling and challenging experience", she says. "Hadley has helped me become more confident in my studies and learn a little more about myself. Hadley has helped me become a better writer, improve my math skills, and better understand the world around me."

Alissa would like to encourage everyone who struggles with school: "Go forward, work hard, it feels so good when you reach your goal".

Alissa is so grateful to everyone who helped her along the way. "I'd like to thank my family, friends, and all the teachers and staff from the California School for the Blind and Hadley for all their help and support. I would not be where I am today without them. I would also like to thank Anna from Student Services for all the help and encouragement she provided" -she says.

Alissa is very proud of her achievement.

Janet Tabora

Janet was home schooled in her home country of Philippines because there were no educational opportunities available there for visually impaired children.

Janet Tabora

After she moved to the United States with her parents, she immediately found services for the visually impaired, and it was her VI teacher who introduced Janet to Hadley. Without hesitation, in 2008 Janet applied for Hadley’s high school program.

Janet completed 36 Hadley courses on the journey to obtain her high school diploma. She worked very hard on her courses despite great challenges. During that time, she lost her parents, but she never lost her drive to get the education she always dreamed of. She also helped with testing new on-line courses that Hadley was developing.

Janet said that through Hadley she learned more skills than she expected. She loved working with Kim Walker who instilled the love of math in her. She enjoyed all courses and is grateful to all her teachers for giving her great encouragement and help throughout the program.

Janet would like to encourage everyone to go for their dreams: “Whatever the challenges, stay focused, dedicated, reach for your goals and keep going.” She continues – “Believe in yourself and stay positive.”

Janet will miss her time at Hadley very much. She already recommended Hadley to many of her friends and will continue to do so.

Now Janet wants to give back what she received from Hadley to the blind community. She applied and got accepted into the Sacramento Community College to major in Education and Math.

Receiving the high school diploma from Hadley was a very emotional and proud moment in Janet’s life.

Janet dedicates the diploma to her parents.

Mark Yendes

For quite some time Mark was searching for options to continue his education. His mom kept encouraging Mark to obtain his high school diploma, but he didn’t know where to turn to get what he needed.

Mark Yendes

While taking some classes at the local community college, a lady who worked there mentioned Hadley and helped Mark to get in touch. As a result, Mark enrolled at Hadley in 2013.

At first, Mark was nervous and a little skeptical of the program. But as he continued taking courses, he got very excited and more engaged in his high school studies. Closure of the high school program in 2017 motivated him even more to complete all required courses and obtain his high school diploma. Mark completed 25 courses and concluded the entire program five months ahead of his target graduation date.

Even though there were some challenging courses, Mark was a little sad when it was over, and that no more course materials were coming in the mail from Hadley. He is very grateful to his wife for helping him along the way.

Mark was very impressed with Hadley’s English program. He said that he learned a lot and even started writing short stories for the Lighthouse of San Francisco. As a part of his high school studies, Mark completed six braille courses. He said that knowing braille opened a whole new world to him – “The world I didn’t have before”. Now he has tons of braille books that he loves to read. “Braille should not be feared but rather celebrated” – Mark said.

Mark truly thinks that although getting an education as a young person is the best choice, achieving this goal later in life is an amazing and empowering feeling.

Receiving a high school diploma from Hadley is a huge source of pride for Mark.

Mark is also a proud recipient of the 2019 Challenge of Living Award.