by Joni Astrup
When Alyse Oban came to Ivan Sand Community School in Elk River as a sophomore, she described her attitude as “horrible.”
“I finally realized I had to grow up,” she said.
A key part of that was when her mom moved to Tennessee during Oban’s junior year. Oban said she felt she had the choice whether to use that as an excuse to fail or to let it be something to help her succeed and make her mother proud. She chose to make her mom proud.
Oban went on to get involved in school, helping create the Ivan Sand media room and helping complete the yearbook. She was an active member of the Ivan Sand Leadership Class, speaking at a school rally about respect, responsibility and inspiring her peers to have a productive year. She also presented a workshop about suicide during Mental Health Week and initiated a Relational Violence Awareness Week.
The staff at Ivan Sand took note of her achievements, and nominated her for the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs (MAAP) 2010-2011 Student of the Year. Oban went on to win the award.
“I was just like in shock,” she said. “If you had told me a couple years ago that I would get an award … I would have said ‘No way. Not possible.’”
In a story about Oban in the Elk River Area School District’s newsletter, Ivan Sand Student Leadership Teacher Cheryl Netka English said Oban is an example of a student who completely turned her attitude and behavior around and inspired others to do so as well.
Oban, of Zimmerman, finished her school work early and graduated from Ivan Sand in February. She went through the graduation ceremony with her classmates on Tuesday, May 31, and was one of the student speakers.
She will begin medical assistant classes at Anoka Technical College in August. Her goal ultimately is to become a registered nurse.
Her advice to others who also may be facing challenges?
“Just realize that if you’re struggling, that you can do it,” Oban said. “It just takes hard work and dedication.”