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2021 Graduates: Martavion Mabon Combined School Work, 40-Hour Work Week

martavion mabonThe way Martavion Mabon figures it, working 40 hours a week actually made him a better student. 

It’s hard to say when his day “started” during the 2020-21 school year, but Mabon, who works third shift for auto parts manufacturer MANN + HUMMEL, would get out of work at 7 a.m., take a 30-minute nap, get up to attend classes, go to sleep at 3 p.m. and get to work by 10 p.m. 

“Yeah, I didn’t get as much sleep as I should have,” he said with a laugh. 

He won’t lie, the first few weeks were difficult. 

“I was kind of behind in school. My teachers would reach out to me and call my phone. I told them I was working the night shift, but they didn’t know I was working 40 hours. It was killing me the first two weeks,” Mabon said. “Then, eventually I had to map out a schedule. I had to figure out how I was going to do this. I think working actually helped me. 

“I ended up getting used to it. It wasn’t too challenging.” He pauses. “Well, sometimes I get a little drowsy. Sleep is the first thing I think about.” 

Mabon has been good at figuring out how to make his education work for him. 

Mabon attended Washington Writers’ Academy and Milwood Magnet School: A Center for Math, Science and Technology before going to Loy Norrix High School and then Phoenix High School. 

His freshman year at Loy Norrix did not go well. He hung out with the wrong crowd, skipped class, and had a hard time focusing because of the group of friends he had. By his junior year, he was behind and didn’t know how he’d catch up. That’s when a counselor suggested Phoenix High School, which he knew about from an aunt’s experience there. 

“They’re very helpful there,” Mabon said. “The teachers knew how to work with me. The teachers broke down the information for me in the right way, so I knew exactly what I was doing. I had a lot of motivation. When I got to Phoenix, I realized in a snap how much school is supposed to mean to me. I had to get back on track. I graduated a year later.” 

Mabon, who is the son of Valarie Mabon and Larry Calhoun, is still working at MANN + HUMMEL but he’d like to learn a trade in the future. 

Among the staff who were especially helpful were teacher Scott Hunsinger and principal Mark Hill. Staff didn’t know that he was working 40 hours a week this school year, but when they did see him struggle, they were there to encourage him to get his work done and to touch base with teachers or counselors when he needed extra help. 

“The staff at Phoenix actually reach out to the students,” he said. “I went there at a time when I was giving up because I was stuck on my work and I didn’t know how to ask for help. They told me I could not bail out on them. They made sure I graduated.”