Science program helps at risk youth


Tomas Enguidanos is a teacher with a mission to get his students to discover new worlds through science.

"When we give them really exciting, stimulating learning experiences, then they forget all the drama in their lives," said Enguidanos.

The high school is called the Principals' Center Collaborative, located in San Francisco. Every student here is a juvenile on probation.

"Burglary, robbery, assault," said Principal Kevin Kerr, describing some of the crimes students have committed.

A judge assigns them to this high school. They live in group homes or with a family member and it keeps them out of juvenile hall.

"They would essentially be sitting in jail, taking their classes in jail. It's not exactly jail, it's juvenile hall," said Enguidanos.

Their teacher says dissecting animals has sparked their interest in science. Now Enguidanos wants them to expand their curiosity by focusing on pond biology.

"Including plants, insects, arthropods of all kinds, spiders," said Enguidanos.

Enguidanos wants to purchase nets, guides and other equipment. The cost is $584 and he's counting on works when teachers put their projects online and viewers like you help fund them.

He hopes some of these students will end up being health professionals. Already the school has a partnership with City College of San Francisco offering them an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training class.

One 16-year-old said he'd like to become a paramedic.

"As a career, I would really like to be an EMT or something, because every day you have something new to see, exciting things to witness and different people to help so you feel good about yourself after that," said a student.

There are about 60 kids who attend classes here. About 15 students a semester transition back to a traditional high school.

"It is a caring place, it is a supportive place, it is a place where they can make mistakes and learn from those mistakes, which is something they haven't had the opportunity to do," said Kerr.

To help the Principals' Center Collaborative, click here. To help other schools and to learn more about the program, visit the Donors Choose Web site at

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