-->

getting a high school diploma

MILWAUKEE — Travis Gardner is like a little brother to John Grube. While Gardner is 68 and Grube is 56, Grube said he feels like the older one because he seems to always be looking out for his friend.

When Gardner forgot to bring water to a job site, Grube was there to supply extra. When Gardner forgot to eat breakfast, Grube brought him to McDonald’s. Grube was also the one who encouraged Gardner to begin with job site coursework in the first place.

“When you look out for each other, the world is brighter and more positive,” Grube said. “Helping others is so much more fulfilling.”

Gardner is a member of the veterans’ corps of the Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps and had been attending Certification and Emergency Response Training (CERT) School, going to classes and earning project-based credit alongside young adult students who are old enough to be his grandchildren.

People are also reading…



Travis Gardner, right, looks on during the graduation ceremony for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students Wednesday at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Fifty years after dropping out of Horlick High School in 1972 as a sophomore to join the US Marine Corps and serve in the Vietnam War, Gardner received his high school diploma Wednesday at CERT School’s graduation and service recognition ceremony in Milwaukee at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St.

‘A lovely programme’

Gardner grew up in Racine on Marquette Street. He was one of 17 children and said his family was poor.

Gardner and Grube now live in the same building on College Avenue.

Grube noticed Gardner wasn’t happy with his current situation. Gardner had worked 3-4 jobs in the decades since serving in the Vietnam War and coming back to Racine, including working for The Journal Times at one point. But he felt something was missing: his high school diploma.

“I didn’t feel right without it,” he said.

Grube, who served in the US Army from 1986-1989, had joined the Great Lakes CCC as a veteran corps member a few months prior. He has 40 years of experience in gardening and works with the CCC with that interest in mind.

He invited his friend to join him and encouraged him to take CERT classes.

CERT School is an alternative high school operated by the Great Lakes CCC in Racine and is accredited through the Racine Parental Choice Program via the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Designed as a hybrid career academy, students who complete the program earn a diploma and any additional certifications, licenses and credentials they choose for occupations in disaster rescue, recovery and rebuilding of a community.

Grube transported Gardner to his classes and answered questions Gardner had.

Gardner said he joined CERT to get an education, and ended up falling in love with it.

“It’s a lovely program,” he said. “Everybody get along. It showed me there’s a lot of skillful jobs out there.”

He said he’s still working out his future plans after receiving his diploma.

“I’m at a standstill. But I’m not done yet,” he said.

Veteran shares journey: From living homeless behind Walmart, to tiny home, to hope



Chris Litzau at lunch

Great Lakes CCC President Chris Litzau, standing at left, speaks to a table of attendees eating lunch Wednesday at the event at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Grube said he was “very proud” of Gardner’s graduation. “I’m so happy he was able to do it. That’s a milestone in your life.”

“All of these graduates changed their future,” Great Lakes CCC President Chris Litzau said during the graduation ceremony. “They made the effort. They sacrificed, they endured, they really paid the price and went to bat.”

“The beautiful thing about today is, we are sitting in the middle of a dream fulfilled,” Dyer said. “Let us act like this is the birth and the rebirth of something great.”

In photos and video: Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students earn diplomas, certifications

Chris Litzau compares graduation to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Muhibb Dyer and “Where we come from”

Muhibb Dyer speaks of having the spirit of a soldier

Chris Litzau

Chris Litzau

Great Lakes CCC President Chris Litzau speaks Wednesday during the graduation ceremony for Racine and Milwaukee CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Gabriel Tolefree-Burke

Gabriel Tolefree-Burke

Gabriel Tolefree-Burke, left, looks on during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


graduates

graduates

Graduates including Travis Gardner, right, look on during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Travis Gardner

Travis Gardner

Travis Gardner, right, looks on during the graduation ceremony for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students Wednesday at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Muhibb Dyer

Muhibb Dyer

Motivational speaker Muhibb Dyer makes remarks during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


clapping

clapping

Graduates including Travis Gardner, right, clap during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Getting the diplomas ready

Getting the diplomas ready


Rachel Kubik


Courtney Cook-Bey

Courtney Cook-Bey

Courtney Cook-Bey receives her diploma during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Travis Gardner receives his diploma

Travis Gardner receives his diploma

Travis Gardner receives his diploma during the graduation ceremony for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students Wednesday at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Roberto Ruiz

Roberto Ruiz

Roberto Ruiz receives his diploma during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Israel Young

Israel Young

Israel Young proudly boosts his diploma and multiple certificates in the air during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Jareel Young

Jareel Young

Jareel Young receives his diploma and various certificates during the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


brothers

brothers

Brothers Israel and Jareel Young on Wednesday get ready for a group photo during the graduation ceremony for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Chris Litzau at lunch

Chris Litzau at lunch

Great Lakes CCC President Chris Litzau, standing at left, speaks to a table of attendees eating lunch Wednesday at the event at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


At lunch

At lunch

Attendees eat lunch Wednesday at the event at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


John Grube and Travis Gardner

John Grube and Travis Gardner

Great Lakes CCC veteran corps member John Grube, left, and graduate Travis Gardner smile for a photo during lunch, a part of the graduation ceremony Wednesday for Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School students at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St ., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Six of eight — group photo

Six of eight — group photo

Great Lakes CCC President Chris Litzau poses with six of the eight total Racine and Milwaukee Great Lakes CCC CERT School graduates Wednesday at City on a Hill, 910 N. 23rd St., Milwaukee.


Rachel Kubik


Comments are closed.