2 Students get second chance at education

MGN Online

When Paul Doba was attending a private school, he was supposed to be in 10th grade. But he was studying fourth grade-level English, fifth grade-level word building and seventh grade-level math. It wasn't going well.

Posted: Dec 26, 2017 12:26 PM

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — When Paul Doba was attending a private school, he was supposed to be in 10th grade. But he was studying fourth grade-level English, fifth grade-level word building and seventh grade-level math. It wasn't going well.

Doba, 17, dropped out in spring 2016.

"I was not getting the help I needed," he said. "I was experiencing bullying. I wasn't able to fit in like I wanted to.

"I had low self-esteem. I thought I couldn't make it anywhere."

Doba's educational experience is much different now. He is attending the Adult Education program at Pearl River Community College's Forrest County Center and working to get his high school equivalency diploma. So far, he has passed the math portion — earning a 14, when only an eight is needed.

He hopes to have his diploma by January.

Doba attends PRCC under the Second Chance MS initiative — a program founded by Dickie and Zach Scruggs, who know a lot about second chances. The father and son both spent time in federal prison in a judicial bribery case. While behind bars, they helped other inmates study for their GEDs. Since getting out, they have been committed to supporting adult education.

The Second Chance program pays for the high school equivalency diploma, gives a $150 bonus when the student earns the degree and offers another $100 when the student passes a career technical course associated with the degree.

Doba had to be recommended for the program by PRCC's adult education navigator, Sarah Simmons. She said Second Chance students must be able to succeed in PRCC's courses and prosper in college and career. There are only 23 Second Chance students out of the approximately 200 students pursuing their high school equivalency diploma at the Forrest County campus.

As it turns out, Doba was probably struggling with dyslexia the entire time he was in school. His sister was diagnosed earlier this year when she was 13, and Doba experiences many of the same symptoms. Doctors do not routinely give a diagnosis of dyslexia to someone Doba's age.

"If I look at a white piece of paper, the letters and the words get all jumbled up," he said. "I can read with a blue background. I can understand if someone reads it to me."

Doba's classmate, David Crofoot, is also a Second Chance student. He entered middle school several grades behind after being home-schooled for five years.

"Because I wasn't in school, I felt I didn't have to take the work seriously," he said of his home-school experience. "I went really slowly.

"If I'd been smart about it, I would have gone faster and actually tried."

Crofoot found himself in high school as a 17-year-old ninth-grader, after being held back several times in previous years. He dropped out after ninth grade and came to PRCC in August to get his high school equivalency diploma.

"I was worried at first because (PRCC) was an alien environment," he said. "I thought I wasn't equipped for it."

But Crofoot quickly found out he had the skills to thrive at the college. When he took his initial assessments, he scored above a 12th-grade level in reading. He's earned his high school equivalency diploma and is now working part time and taking a manufacturing basic skills class. He plans to enroll full time in the spring and work toward an electrical degree.

Simmons said Crofoot has come a long way.

"David is very intelligent," she said. "I don't think he knows he's smart because of what he's been through. He was worried he was behind and wouldn't do well.

"I think David will do very well in the electrical program."

Doba is planning on pursuing a welding or HVAC degree at PRCC. Simmons says both students should find lucrative employment upon graduation.

Crofoot is daring to look forward to a few things.

"I do hope to have a well-paying job, a nice house and a nice family," he said.

Simmons expects Doba will achieve the same things.

"Paul was very quiet, very shy (when he first arrived)," she said. "He was beaten down. Now, he's talkative, outgoing — one of the most caring and considerate young men I've ever met.

"He's excited about his future. When he first came, he didn't realize he could have a future."

Doba wants to complete college in two or three years, get a job and take care of a family.

"I can (do it)," he said. "I've got a life ahead of me."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 81°
Columbus
Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 78°
Oxford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 78°
Starkville
Cloudy
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 78°
Tropical Depression Claudette has now moved into Alabama and Georgia, leaving with some cloud cover but dry conditions. Most of us will stay dry through this Father's Day but some spotty showers will likely through the late afternoon.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather