Robin C

Robin Shines Bright Like a Diamond as Student of the Year at Santa Maria Community Services 

Robin C. has become an inspirational presence within the Santa Maria family as she embarked on a journey that speaks volumes about her resilience and resoluteness. Robin came to Santa Maria with goals that included getting her General Education Development (GED) diploma and going to college.

Approximately one in four adults in Price Hill lack a high school diploma or equivalent and Santa Maria would like to change that. People like Robin are making that possible through true grit and determination. Robin’s story began in Santa Maria’s GED classroom, where Robin collaborated with coaches and tutors, showcasing her commitment to her studies. In the nurturing environment provided by Santa Maria, Robin not only gained knowledge in GED subjects but also learned about financial literacy with the help of her coach, Aisha Matthis, a Workforce Coach at Santa Maria.

After a few years of dedicated learning at Santa Maria, Robin made a transition to Dohn Community High School where she wanted to complete her high school journey. The Cincinnati Enquirer states that, “of the 10 Cincinnati neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of high school dropouts, all but one has a poverty rate higher than the city’s overall poverty rate of 26.3%.”* Robin decided to work on breaking that cycle of generational poverty by obtaining better employment opportunities while continuing her studies at Dohn and working with Aisha to help her build credit, open a bank account, and create a budget.

Robin’s ambition led her to participate in Santa Maria’s Work Experience Program. Santa Maria’s Work Experience Program offers youth opportunities to engage in paid on-the-job learning in a variety of fields at partner Work Sites. Robin joined the team at Ladies of Leadership, a local nonprofit offering school-age tutoring and mentoring programs, where she engaged with the curriculum, met regularly with her coach, and successfully balanced her studies with responsibilities at home. Aisha worked with Robin in developing workplace boundaries, communicating with coworkers, and taking accountability for her actions when conflicts arose. Robin’s hard work and diligence paid off, and in June 2023, Robin proudly earned her high school diploma and her certificate of completion for her 12-week work experience.

Robin’s outstanding achievements were celebrated as she was named Santa Maria’s Student of the Year during last year’s graduation ceremony. Her gratitude-filled speech touched the hearts of everyone present, especially as she acknowledged her sister, a steadfast source of motivation fueling her journey toward a brighter future.

With her initial goals achieved, Robin is now charting a new course in her educational journey. Enrolled at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, she is actively working toward a degree in Business, a testament to her ongoing commitment to personal and academic growth.

Santa Maria is celebrating Robin’s accomplishments and anticipating the remarkable milestones that await her. Aisha hopes that Robin continues to “shine bright like a diamond,” embodying the spirit of resilience and determination that defines her remarkable journey.


*Source: The education gap: Cincinnati’s poorest neighborhoods have the most high school dropouts by Dan Horn: