Why do kids skip school?
Here’s one answer, from Leroy Pompia, a man in his 50s who’s learning how to read better at the Tomlinson Adult Learning Center in St. Petersburg. “I played hookey because I felt I wasn’t learning and I was embarrassed,” he writes in the latest newsletter from the Literacy Council of St. Petersburg.
Here’s Pompia’s story as it was printed:
As a little boy, when I was coming up in life, I didn’t go to school very much. My mother moved a lot because of her relationship with her husband. As a child, I had to move with her and didn’t get to go to school very often.
When I was at school, I felt different from the other kids. I didn’t think I was as smart as them. I also never was in one place long enough to make friends.
I made mistakes. One was playing hookey. I played hookey because I felt I wasn’t learning and I was embarrassed.
My life moved on. As I grew up I worked helping my mother. I worked on a farm cutting flowers and loading trucks with produce.
In my 30s I realized I didn’t read as well as I should and was always asking people to read things for me. I enrolled in Dunbar High School, but I couldn’t continue because I had to go back to work.
After my mother died, I left Fort Myers where we had lived together and came to St. Petersburg. I joined a church and met a friend who told me about Tomlinson School. I came and enrolled and have been going to classes now for about two years. I have finished three Skill Books and have read many stories. I hope to improve my reading even more and get my GED.
Ron Matus, state education reporter