While living in the Midwest, hundreds of miles from where she began, Hillary Mills said she learned about Tempe’s Quest High School.
“I was working three jobs as a single mom and didn’t get to see my daughter much,” the 21-year-old recalls. “When we came here, my plane landed and the next day I was in school.”
Mills, mom to a soon-to-be 4-year-old, had previously lived in the East Valley, but dropped out of high school in 2006. She was drawn back by the Tempe charter school’s child-care facilities and a hope for a high school diploma.
But the school also offers more.
Last year, Quest (formerly known as Tempe Accelerated) began several programs that allow students to get a diploma plus a career certificate or the training to take career testing in several areas, from medical assisting to pharmacy tech to child care development.
That’s the program Viviana Martinez, 17, loves the most. It’s also the one that keeps her in school, she said.
“I love going to that class. It was really fun. It made me want to go to school,” Martinez, a Mesa resident, said. “I had classes in here and I loved working with the kids and babies.”
Martinez was going to graduate this fall, but because she wants to finish the child development program, she will finish in May 2013.
“I hope to go to college to become a counselor,” she said.
Most of the students tend to be older at Quest, said Beverly Cook, the school’s leader. During the pilot year of the career program, the 2011-12 school year, about 25 students participated. There are about 200 students at the school.
“The new students coming in that I’m interviewing are excited about this program,” she said.
The school has partnered with Tempe St. Luke’s to get students hands-on training for medical assisting, she said. Child development students work in the school’s daycare, an office adjacent to the school in a Tempe strip mall.
Three students are taking the pharmacy technician national exam this year, Cook said.
“We’re eager to see what the results of the test will be,” she said.
One student already has passed the national certification test for Internet web master.
Quest High School is a member of the Leona Group of independently run, public charter schools. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
To learn more about the school, see questhighschool.com, or visit the campus at 5040 S. Price Road, Tempe. Call (480) 831-6057 for more information.
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