Barrett Credits Grandparents for Helping Him Graduate Through Project Connect Program

Project Connect graduates fill the front few rows inside the Holt Campus in Yukon for Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. More than 150 people attended. Project Connect is an alternative education/dropout recovery program that started in 1989.

May 20, 2016

YUKON – The light turned on for Kaleb Barrett. Maybe not as quickly as he hoped, but there is no turning back.

Barrett, of Minco, admits the journey getting to that point was chock full of pitfalls.

“Two years ago, I wasn’t in a very good state of mind,” he said. “I was staying out too late, constantly getting into trouble and had no direction.

“I didn’t know where I was going with my life or what I was going to do. I was missing a lot of school and starting to fail my classes.”

Barrett discovered a Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Project Connect program, which became a life preserver of sorts for him.

He spent half the day working on core classes in the invitation-only program that is nestled on the third floor of CV Tech’s Holt Campus in Yukon. The other half was spent in one of the school’s full-time career prep programs. He chose Welding.

Barrett flourished in the structured setting. He changed his life by making a series of good decisions and regularly going to classes.

This week, Barrett walked up on stage as the keynote speaker and as Project Connect’s Student of the Year. Though his class of 23 students is small, he said he couldn’t be more proud of the honor and for the course correction afforded him.

“I decided that I wanted to make something of myself, and CV Tech helped me with that,” he said. “Looking back, I think if it hadn’t been for the mistakes I made, the determination to learn from those mistakes and the desire to turn my life around, I wouldn’t be graduating from high school today.”

Barrett began working part-time as a custodian at the school last December. He said the job taught him how to become more responsible. He is undecided on his future but said he is considering going into maintenance full-time or possibly pursuing a career as a welder.

“Words cannot explain how much I appreciate each and every one of the CV Tech employees for never giving up on me,” Barrett said in his speech. “Without the tremendous support from Canadian Valley, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. For that I say, thank you.”

Barrett also thanked his grandparents who he said are a constant source of encouragement to him.

“My grandparents have been my best role models in leading me in the right direction and always giving me the best advice,” he said.

They led him to the light, and he continues walking in it.