Summer school is usually the place where young people go because they have to make up work, but one teenager who is enrolled has a different story. She's thrilled to be going to summer school everyday.
Most of the students who go to summer school are there because they failed a class, and to move on, they have to go to summer school to make up that work. That's why 18 year old Amanda Gilbert is there and proud to be there. "I'm happy. I'm happy this time."
Amanda didn't make it to her school's graduation. It was just two weeks ago Friday that Amanda's mother went to the School Board to ask if her daughter could at least walk with her class at graduation, and she took the School Board's answer of "no" personally. Amanda's mother Charlotte Simpson explained the predicament she was in on May 23, 2008. "Because I was homeless and I suffer from seizures and my (daughter) she had to miss classes because of me."
And, to make matters worse, she couldn't afford the $260 to send her daughter to summer school to make up the work she needed to graduate. And, Amanda was having a hard time too on May 23rd. "Certain days I had to miss out of school because I didn't know where I was going to sleep at night and how I was going to get to school. We didn't have a house. We didn't have a car. We didn't have anything."
But, they're not sad anymore. Amanda is in summer school because after her story aired on WSFA 12 News people called and offered to pay her tuition. Amanda says she couldn't believe the outpouring of help. "I was so grateful. I was like, all these people don't know me and they care so much just to see me get an education. I sat down and it just hit me. I was like, these people really care about somebody they never met and they want to pay for me to go to school. They want me to be somebody someday. I'll be here everyday getting that diploma."
So many people offered to help, the school system was able to pay for several other students who are in summer school too. Amanda's mother says she's so appreciative. "The love that Alabama has for their people is outrageous. Everyone's been calling. They said they didn't know about our situation. They just offered to pay for our summer school and we've been happy ever since. I'm happy."
Amanda says after summer school she plans to report to the National Guard in October and after basic training she plans to go to college. She's even thinking about going to law school. By the way, her mother now has a job. It's a temporary job and she's looking for something more permanent.
The school system estimates it collected about $1,500 for youngsters to go to summer school this summer. It all came from people who saw Amanda's story here on WSFA 12 News and called to donate.