Tampa's Pepin Academies helps students transition to success - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa's Pepin Academies helps students transition to success

Posted: Updated:
Students from the Pepin Transitional Program are training on the job at the Hillsborough Public Defender's office.  Some of their duties include digitizing documents and information for case files. Students from the Pepin Transitional Program are training on the job at the Hillsborough Public Defender's office. Some of their duties include digitizing documents and information for case files.
One of the many successful students from the Pepin Transitional Program, Jonathan Temaul, is now employed full time in Public Defender Julianne Holt's office. One of the many successful students from the Pepin Transitional Program, Jonathan Temaul, is now employed full time in Public Defender Julianne Holt's office.
Julianne Holt, Public Defender for the 13th Judicial Circuit, and co-worker Maggie Gambrell at work. Julianne Holt, Public Defender for the 13th Judicial Circuit, and co-worker Maggie Gambrell at work.
Students spend part of their day in a classroom and part of their day on the job training. Students spend part of their day in a classroom and part of their day on the job training.
Julianne Holt observing students in the Pepin Transitional Program's classroom. Julianne Holt observing students in the Pepin Transitional Program's classroom.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Ever heard of the Pepin Academies?  If not, you're probably not alone.  The tuition-free public charter school specializes in students with all kinds of learning disabilities, and one of its most aggressive programs successfully places those kids in some pretty high stress work environments. 

"They really are boots on the ground from the very beginning," explained Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt. 

Back in 2006 Pepin Academies founder Chrisha Scolaro approached Holt about creating a transitional program inside the Public Defenders Office.  Holt agreed to allow young adults with varying learning disabilities to input data and convert backlogged files to digital images.

"After the very first year we realized, hey this is working out really great.  You could actually see the progress that was being made, but more importantly you saw the growth. You saw the growth of the students," Holt said.

Scolaro says transitional programs like the one at the Public Defenders Office are invaluable for Pepin Academies students who admittedly have disabilities but certainly have plenty of capabilities too. 

"It doesn't matter if you have a student with a disability, you as a taxpayer will end up providing for these students to sit on their couch at home.  if we don't transition them into the work force and independent living," Scolaro said.

Among the transitional program's success stories are Maggie Gambrell who became a full time employee at the Public Defenders Office after finishing at Pepin. Jonathan Temaul also snagged a full time position nearly five years ago. 

He says he now helps other Pepin students any time he can. "I sometimes help them out. Sometimes I do. Just got to give them a little push. Just a tiny little push," Temaul said.

And really, Holt says, that's all that's happening in her office -- a push towards success. 

"I always want to end every single day at the end of the day knowing that I made a difference in someone's life, and if I don't open the door for people who need the door opened who will," she said.

Pepin Academies students rotate through a series of transitional programs throughout downtown Tampa at places like the county building, Tampa Police Department, TECO and People's Gas. 
     
The school's major fundraiser is set for May 16th, and officials plan to open a satellite school in Riverview this fall.

 

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:10:55 GMT
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
  • Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:45:52 GMT
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
  • 8 on your side helps stranded Riverview driver get a new car

    8 on your side helps stranded Riverview driver get a new car

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:10:54 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side told you about the plight of Christopher Soto and his recalled car.Last fall, Soto purchased a 2004 Chevy Malibu from DriveTime, a used car dealership in Brandon.
    Last week, 8 on your side told you about the plight of Christopher Soto and his recalled car.Last fall, Soto purchased a 2004 Chevy Malibu from DriveTime, a used car dealership in Brandon.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Closing US 301 for repairs create headaches

    Closing US 301 for repairs create headaches

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:16 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:16:16 GMT
    It’s been a headache for many who travel U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview after the roadway was shut down. But FDOT expects the roadway to be back open about midnight Thursday.After a nearby construction crew damaged a 24-inch water line in the area, water poured out and created a hole, damaging the asphalt on U.S. 301.“It’s still every penny counts, I would say $30 to $50 possibly,” is how much the road closure cost Bee...
    It’s been a headache for many who travel U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview after the roadway was shut down. But FDOT expects the roadway to be back open about midnight Thursday.After a nearby construction crew damaged a 24-inch water line in the area, water poured out and created a hole, damaging the asphalt on U.S. 301.“It’s still every penny counts, I would say $30 to $50 possibly,” is how much the road closure cost Bee...
  • New "Fire challenge" video spurs warnings

    New "Fire challenge" video spurs warnings

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:43:41 GMT
    Videos of a dangerous stunt are spreading all across social media. You can see examples on sites like Youtube and Facebook. It's called "The Fire Challenge" and involves young people dousing themselves with rubbing alcohol and lighting it up on their bodies. Burn victim and now, Tampa General Hospital volunteer, Joe Versaggi, knows all about the horrors of fire. He's undergone 30 surgeries after a fiery plane crash 8...
    Videos of a dangerous stunt are spreading all across social media. You can see examples on sites like Youtube and Facebook. It's called "The Fire Challenge" and involves young people dousing themselves with rubbing alcohol and lighting it up on their bodies. Burn victim and now, Tampa General Hospital volunteer, Joe Versaggi, knows all about the horrors of fire. He's undergone 30 surgeries after a fiery plane crash 8...
  • Haines City police officer resigns after Facebook posts

    Haines City police officer resigns after Facebook posts

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:43 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:43:17 GMT
    A Haines City police officer under an internal investigation has resigned. Amelia Inoa, an officer with Haines City since 2012, submitted her resignation Wednesday night. The resignation came a few hours after News Channel 8 aired a story exposing some of Inoa's posts on her personal Facebook page. The posts ranged from jokes about calls on which she was dispatched to racial jabs.On Thursday, police Captain Brian McNu...
    A Haines City police officer under an internal investigation has resigned. Amelia Inoa, an officer with Haines City since 2012, submitted her resignation Wednesday night. The resignation came a few hours after News Channel 8 aired a story exposing some of Inoa's posts on her personal Facebook page. The posts ranged from jokes about calls on which she was dispatched to racial jabs.On Thursday, police Captain Brian McNu...
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.