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“Your Dad Would Be So Proud of You”

Henry was a bright kid - he just didn’t want to come to school, and when he did, he would leave early. The CIS program manager at Wartburg Central High, Mandi Jonquet, noticed this pattern and started to earn his trust, at first by just smiling and saying that she was glad to see him at school. Mandi and Henry started to meet regularly, and Mandi learned more about his story: he was bashful and didn’t make friends easily. And not having friends made him not want to come to school.

Mandi encouraged him to join the football team, and Henry started to make friends - and improve his attendance. But when Henry’s father suddenly passed away just a few weeks into the 2022-23 school year, he was understandably struggling, and old patterns started to re-emerge. He had a very hard time coming to school, but Mandi continued to be a consistent, friendly presence in his life - either calling him or making a home visit daily to make sure that he was okay.

Mandi and Henry eventually had a conversation in which she told him, "Your dad would be so proud of you and want you to graduate and be playing football." She also went to the football team and asked his friends to make sure they were checking in on him and letting him know they were there for him. “It wasn't long after that Henry came back to school and has been coming every day and doing his very best,” Mandi said.

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