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>>

  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • NewsMore>>

  • Bubba 'The Love Sponge' to announce new Tampa gig

    Bubba 'The Love Sponge' to announce new Tampa gig

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:09:07 GMT
    File photo of Bubba the Love Sponge ClemFile photo of Bubba the Love Sponge Clem
    Bubba "The Love Sponge" announced on his Twitter page Monday that he will soon have a new Tampa home.
    Bubba "The Love Sponge" announced on his Twitter page Monday that he will soon have a new Tampa home.
  • St. Petersburg plane pulled from Tampa Bay after Sunday crash

    St. Petersburg plane pulled from Tampa Bay after Sunday crash

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:08:34 GMT
    The plane that crashed in Tampa Bay, off the coast of St. Petersburg Sunday,has been recovered.A recovery team started work early this morning. It took hours to bring the plane up from about 25 feet under water. The company that owns the plane, Aerial Banner, Inc., sent company representatives to St. Petersburg.
    The plane that crashed in Tampa Bay, off the coast of St. Petersburg Sunday,has been recovered.A recovery team started work early this morning. It took hours to bring the plane up from about 25 feet under water. The company that owns the plane, Aerial Banner, Inc., sent company representatives to St. Petersburg.
  • Scott and Crist bash each other at campaign events

    Scott and Crist bash each other at campaign events

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:02:31 GMT
    Florida's increasingly bitter and expensive campaign for governor is kicking into gear with two months left before Election Day.Gov. Rick Scott began a two-week bus tour along the crucial Interstate 4 corridor, where he railed against former Gov. Charlie Crist as someone who is just like President Barack Obama.
    Florida's increasingly bitter and expensive campaign for governor is kicking into gear with two months left before Election Day.Gov. Rick Scott began a two-week bus tour along the crucial Interstate 4 corridor, where he railed against former Gov. Charlie Crist as someone who is just like President Barack Obama.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Jennifer Lawrence requests nude pics investigation

    Jennifer Lawrence requests nude pics investigation

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:56 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:56:41 GMT
    Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and other female actresses lashed out against an online bulletin board that posted what it claimed was compromising pictures of them.
    Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence and other female actresses lashed out against an online bulletin board that posted what it claimed was compromising pictures of them.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 18 - 23

    Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 18 - 23

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:58:28 GMT
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants?
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants?
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.