When Carlos Guel dropped out of West Burlington High School in Iowa, Vern Reed began sending him messages via Facebook, determined to bring him back.

“He would pretty much just tell me to come back to school and he’s not giving up on me,” says Guel in this article from The Hawkeye.

Using a program called Night Academy that is offered through the high school, Guel was able to earn the credits he needed to get his diploma. After graduating, he started an internship with a construction company that later turned into a full-time job.

Guel has come a long way since sleeping on a park bench with just a single blanket to protect him from the harsh Iowa winter, something else he discusses in the article. To learn more about what’s been happening in southeast Iowa, check out this video:

If you work in K–12 and you’re interested in supporting your students in creating their future stories, consider Ruby Payne’s video series College Readiness in K–12: A Resource for School Counselors Who Support At-Risk and First-Generation College Prospects. The video series comes with a supplemental collection of activities targeted for each grade level that prepare students for further study after graduating from high school. DVD version also available.