St. Paul Charter School Helps Redirect Young Woman's Life

Updated: 06/10/2014 11:50 AM
Created: 06/10/2014 10:23 AM
By: Steve Patterson

Quartney Fore's education has been anything but cliche.  In 2009, she graduated from High School for the Recording Arts, a charter school in St. Paul that uses music to help attract students looking for a second go at high school.

Quartney got kicked out of school and had problems to deal with back at home, but when asked about them, she'd avoid going into detail as though she didn't want to use that as a crutch. 

The school’s executive director, Tony Simmons, takes the same approach.

"You know, we take into account those tough circumstances that they've gone through…but basically, the bottom line is, we really want them to see their best selves so they can make it in life,” Simmons said.

Quartney just added an Associates Degree to her resume.  And that resume already had a unique distinction.

In 2009, she was chosen by her school to talk to then Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Her objective was to get him to say he'd support a primary seat belt bill, enabling law enforcement to ticket unbelted drivers or passengers. 

He came into the hallway where she was waiting, and Quartney went for it, asking, “I was wondering, what is your stance on the primary seat belt law?” 

Pawlenty responded, “When I was in the legislature, I voted for the primary seat belt law, and I think it's a good idea."

Hesitant lawmakers weren't sure if pushing the bill was worth the effort without the assurance that the governor was on board; that’s when Quartney’s first journalistic endeavor came to light. 

"They went back and they looked at that video, and that's why they went on and passed it, because the governor was on record saying he would pass the law,” Fore said.

Fore is deciding between two different colleges right now where she will aim to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication.  But for all that she and her fellow students have accomplished at High School for the Recording Arts, she knows there's still work to be done in order to undo a commonly-held misconception, saying, “Even though these students may be homeless, they might be going through adversity, they're just as good as someone who’s going through a traditional public school; they're just as motivated, if not more. They just need a little push.”

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