Topeka principal becoming friend, mentor to students getting second chance

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A local principal is doing things differently, becoming a friend to his students, helping them get back on track.

Dale Noll has been the Hope Street Academy principal for the past 12-years, teaching kids more than history, science and math, but life lessons.

“This school means opportunity,” Dale said. “It means a clean slate. The students that come here have had obstacles to their educational success. They’re just students that haven’t been noticed. They’ve slipped through the cracks.”

Dale has seen hundreds of students over the years. To the students, they’ve only seen one, Mr. Noll.

“There’s that sense of family, that kids know they belong here,” Dale said.

Dale has made it his goal to be a mentor and a friend to those who just needed a fresh start. Learning more than 100 students names, something other schools might not do.

“Some of them don’t really know their principal’s name, or don’t even get recognized,” said Hope Street Academy senior, Clair Sales. “And I get to. So I feel lucky.”

“People have come in and out of their lives,” Dale said. “Nobody has maintained that consistency. So, it’s just a matter of communicating that and letting the kids know I’m not going away.”

For each student who walks down the halls of Hope Street, they know Mr. Noll is with them each step of the way, as they prepare to graduate. Taking Dale’s teachings with them forever.

“Last year I dropped out,” said Evan Ross, a senior at Hope Street Academy. “He was the one that gave me my second chance of finishing school. He gave me ground rules on what I had to do to stay in school and finish it. He just gave me that motivation to keep going.”

“He’s helped me become a good man and respect other people,” said Zachary Perez. “Even when I’m not respected.”

“If it wasn’t for Hope Street, I would probably be a high school drop out right now,” Tim Bose said.

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