2017-06-16 / Schools

Senior takes winding path to graduation

By Hector Gonzalez


Peter Rodriguez Peter Rodriguez GRADUATION 2017 /// Frontier High School

Peter Rodriguez made a few detours on the way to getting his diploma Thursday from Frontier High School.

One of 130 Frontier High seniors in the Class of 2017 who participated in the June 15 commencement ceremonies at the Camarillo Airport, Peter was doing “really good” when he first transferred to Frontier High from Oxnard High School, teacher Kim Dallape said.

He was working hard to bring his grades back on track.

But then Peter “took a little vacation” in his sophomore year and started falling behind again, she said. “He kind of made some poor choices for a quarter or two. But then he got his act right back together again.”

As Oxnard Union High School District’s alternative education high school, providing students at risk of dropping out with opportunities to complete the credits they need to graduate, Frontier High prides itself on being the school of second chances, Dallape said.

“And sometimes third or fourth chances, when necessary.”

The 350- student campus serves as a safety net for students, like Peter, who may lose their way now and again but still want to graduate.

“Peter is special because he epitomizes what we do here,” she said. “Peter was mature enough to make the decision to allow us to help him.”

Raised by his single mother, Virginia Lopez, Peter, 19, said his teachers at Frontier encouraged him to get involved in campus life and kept pushing him to get his diploma.

“The teachers would ask, ‘Where do you see yourself in the future?’ and ‘Do you want to graduate?’ They showed me how many credits I needed, what programs to join that would help me. They never gave up on me,” he said. “It’s just a great school. The minute you get here, you feel like you’re part of a family.”

A member of the school’s Leo Club and its Associated Student Body, Peter enjoys math, his favorite subject at Frontier.

“It’s a subject that will benefit you in the future,” he said.

His favorite teacher was Dallape “because she was always on me, like a second mom,” he said.

Peter plans to join the Marines after graduation. In 10 years, he sees himself still serving proudly in the military.

“Hopefully, I’ll still be serving and everything will be good.”

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