“I worked harder than I have ever thought of working.”

Mikala Rahn is the founder of Learning Works–a charter school in Pasadena, California, for kids who have dropped out of traditional schools.

At StoryCorps, Mikala sat down with one of the first students she helped graduate, Carlos Cruz.

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Carlos now works at the school Mikala founded; he is one of several employees called Chasers.

They make sure students get to class, turn in their assignments, and study for tests. Many Chasers were dropouts themselves and a few have been to prison, like Dominick Correy, who served time for burglary.

Dominick often works alongside Carlos, and here the two talk about their job.

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Dominick also spoke with one of his students, Anthony Gonzales. When Anthony started at Learning Works, he was partially paralyzed from a drive-by shooting injury.

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On June 19, 2012, Anthony graduated from Learning Works and Dominick was right by his side.

Recorded in Pasadena, California
To read more about Learning Works, click here
Produced by Jasmyn Belcher, Jud Esty-Kendall, Anita Rao, Brian Reed & Katie Simon
Facilitated by Jasmyn Belcher
Read the Transcript
Click here for the transcript.