"...I had 13 failing grades"

September 2007

 …I had 13 failing grades!


Tafnit “Start” Program graduate
Vav Comprehensive School, Beersheba

My story begins in 7th grade when I still studied at a different comprehensive school in Beersheba. I simply didn’t study, and I knew how to want to cut classes better than to hope to learn something.

I preferred to sit smoking behind the building with my friends and do absolutely nothing, or after my mother would drop me off at school in the mornings I’d simply see her driving off to work, and as soon as I saw her disappear into the distance I’d go back home. That’s how I spent three years at that comprehensive school. Also they knew how to be nasty to me, so I didn’t feel like putting any effort into studying.

At the end of 9th grade, after I had thirteen failing grades on my report card, they told me that I was going to be in the …….. track where you finish twelve years of education without being eligible for matriculation.

Of course I knew that I didn’t want to finish school in that track, and I also didn’t want to stay at that school at all.

I preferred to stop studying and start working, or to change to Vav Comprehensive School, because all my friends were there.

I went with my mother to Vav. I was scared because I knew then that they might not accept me because I had thirteen failing grades. A few days later they called us at home, and told us that they have Nissim Cohen’s new project – the Tafnit “Start Success” Program – and it’s worth us hearing about it.

After a few days Shula Luk, the program coordinator, came to out house, and showed us the project and my chance to complete twelve years of schooling with a matriculation certificate.

I wasn’t that excited. I realized that I’d have to study hard and make lots of effort, and that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. But I agreed. I said to myself, ‘the main thing is to study’.

I started a day before everyone else on the 31st of August 2004. And I didn’t really want to do that either.

That day I met our (amazing) teachers who worked with us for three years. From that moment on all my marks were always over 80%. And when I got 80% I was disappointed.

The “Success” project pushed me into wanting to study and to want to succeed, and motivated lots of other students in my class, most of them with a similar background to mine. The project changed me completely, not just about studying. I’m more serious

when it’s needed, and more giving, and give of my best.  And now, because of the project, I know that there’s no such thing as “I can’t”. (There is such a thing as “I don’t want to.”) And I can, and everyone can do it.

We had the most incredible teachers during those three years in the project, warm and loving. They did everything so that we would succeed. If we “fell” they helped us up and they didn’t let us lose heart or give up hope.

Apart from the teachers, we also had tutors in our class – mostly university or college students, fantastic people who also helped us tremendously. When we needed extra help, our tutors were there, together with the teachers, to help us.

Our homeroom teacher, Nurit Ezra, who always knew how to be available for us, invested every effort, and her whole goal was that we succeed.

In addition to our regular school schedule, of six to eight hours a day, we also had study marathons at Beit Yatziv.

We would have fifteen hours of intensive study, from 8 am until 11 pm for three days before every approaching matriculation examination.

Does it sound difficult? Yes, it was really difficult. But it was an amazing experience, to spend fifteen hours every day with your friends, including teachers and tutors. And now, after three years, I can see and feel the positive results. I’ve completed twelve years of study and, of course, have a complete matriculation.

I’m proud of myself, and want to thank the “Success” project, that gave me thechance to succeed!!I hope that this project, with its proven results and success will let every school take part.

In short,

A giant thank you to everyone!