Cynthia Oropeza graduation from Gulfton

Cynthia has been in special education since early childhood. Beginning in first grade, we enrolled her in a local charter school where she was re-evaluated and retested for the Special Education program. Steps were taken in the right direction and she finished grades 1-5. For sixth grade, Cynthia went to a traditional school, where she, unfortunately, experienced bullying and regressed academically. Thanks to the positive experience we had with charter schools, I was determined to find a new school for my daughter. This is when I found YES Prep in 2012.

YES Prep bound

Cynthia started seventh grade at YES Prep Gulfton under the classification of intellectual disability with modifications made to her curriculum. After the first couple of weeks, I knew that I had finally found the ideal place for her. She was being challenged academically, socially and emotionally. She was excelling in everyday classwork, projects, presentations and even common assessments. I was able to see the growth and, most importantly, her self-esteem was visibly and positively affected. She was finally being challenged to learn under a modified curriculum. She was successful again and happy.

YES Prep met our expectations. Cynthia was fortunate to have an outstanding special education teacher, Stephanie Davidson. She played a critical role in her academic and social development. Cynthia became a better reader because of the challenging materials presented in the classroom each day. Ms. Davidson would work with her in class and in the learning lab to reteach difficult topics or prepare class projects. She received support for math as well. Cynthia then moved on to high school and she continued to be challenged. She passed some subjects on her own and others she was close to passing.

Sights set on college

Cynthia Oropeza with parents and teacher receiving check from YES

Cynthia was determined to go to college. Since 10th grade, she knew she wanted to attend Texas A&M for the PATHS program. In 11th grade, she visited A&M and her passion to attend grew even more as she was getting close to graduating. We applied to the program but we warned her that the price might prevent her from actually attending. She insisted on going through the application process. Unfortunately, our house was flooded for the third time -first the Tax Day Floods, second the Memorial Day Floods and third Hurricane Harvey- and we once again had to renovate our house, depleting our finances. Her hopes of going to college began to dim but she said YES Prep was going to make it happen.

Due to Hurricane Harvey, YES Prep opened a relief fund to assist YES Prep families that were affected. Thanks to the generous support of the community, we were one of the families that received support. The support came in the form of a check for Cynthia to attend the PATHS program at TAMU. Not only had YES Prep and the Special Education program prepared her to be more independent and self-sufficient, but YES Prep was also making Cynthia’s aspirations a reality by covering room and board for the year-long PATHS program.

Life after YES

Cynthia knew she wanted to work with children and the PATHS Certificate Program prepares individuals for jobs as direct support and childcare professionals. Cynthia completed the Bridge to Career summer program, then two semesters for academics and hands-on skills. Soon thereafter she was able to put into practice all her years of school at YES Prep and TAMU when she started working at an adult care area. Here she completed an eight-week internship and worked with the front desk in customer service and filing. She learned that having a real job meant dealing with change in duties and learning new skills at work. Today, Cynthia is a proud employee of the Harris Center.

All means all at YES Prep

Thanks to YES Prep, Cynthia developed many skills that remain with her today: self-advocacy, time management, responsibility and work ethic. For parents looking for a partner in their child’s education, you are making the best decision on your child’s behalf when you choose YES. The inclusion program at YES Prep is tailored to meet each individual's needs. YES Prep truly embodies all means all. All students are held to the same rigorous academic standards as their peers and supports are put in place to meet each individual student’s needs. YES Prep prepares students for life.


Learn more about our Special Education Program.

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