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Academies in Action: The Power of Resilience

March 4, 2022 | Jeffrey Good
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Each month, we take a moment to learn from the educational leaders who bring the Acceleration Academies mission to life, day in and day out. This month, we asked our academy leaders to respond to this prompt: How do your graduation candidates demonstrate resilience on a daily basis? Here is what they had to say.


The graduation candidates at Bethel Acceleration Academies demonstrate resilience on a daily basis by pushing through the obstacles around them to put in the work needed to earn their diplomas. Our GCs have internal and external motivations that push them to continue even through the most difficult times. Whether they are doing it for their parents, their child or just to prove to themselves they can achieve their goal, our young learners know that they have the staff at BAA to support and push them each day. Our GCs have found success building habits of work time schedules and making connections with coaches regularly to stay on pace. We are proud of each one of our GCs for their tenacity and drive.

— Alison Hansen, Director, Bethel (WA)


With the support and guidance of the Clark County academy staff, many of our graduation candidates have developed greater resiliency as they face challenges, emotional hurts and hardships that are part growing up in a complex and sometimes uncertain world. Our GCs demonstrate their grit and resiliency by maintaining successful routines, building connections with helpful educators and maintaining a steadfast commitment to themselves to accomplish the goal of earning their high school diploma.

— Wendy Thompson, Director, Clark County (NV)


Our Ector County graduation candidates have dreams. Many dream to support their family, others dream about going to college, becoming business owners, or building another kind of professional life. Even with different dreams, each and every one of our GCs have the same goal — to earn their high school diploma. They have all encountered challenges in accomplishing this goal, and still they persist. This year alone our GCs have changed their learning environment several times, adapted to new adult responsibilities, and faced resistance in various forms. At Ector Acceleration Academies, we commit to rallying around our learners and empowering them to grow their resilience. We walk alongside them and let them know they are not alone.

— Virginia Hunt, Director, Ector County (TX)


The graduation candidates at Escambia County Acceleration Academies demonstrate resilience in many ways. They share their personal struggles and trust our team to provide them with wraparound support; express gratitude by thanking the staff for welcoming them each morning; and show enthusiasm for the flexibility of the program and teamwork by volunteering to help other GCs who might be struggling on an assignment. We are very pleased to see the joy a young learner experiences when they accomplish their personal daily goals, complete their course and move one step closer to graduation day.

— Maria Jacobs, Director, Escambia County (FL)


The graduation candidates demonstrate resilience each time they walk through the doors of Lowcountry Acceleration Academy or even open their computers to be on Zoom with a staff member. Whenever I am talking with GCs onsite or even prior to their orientation at LAA, I sense their resilience in the way the GC describes the barriers that have limited their ability to successfully access educational opportunities. Most times those stories end with a long pause because that young woman or man mentally starts to relive their trauma and deep challenges. During that pause, I remind the GC that they are resilient because they kept functioning in the midst of sometimes overwhelming adversity.

— Dr. Jacinta Bryant, Director, Lowcountry Acceleration Academy


Many of our graduation candidates come to us with heightened levels of anxiety, fear and uncertainty about their future, while also being forced to grapple with letting go of a checkered past. The courage demonstrated by so many of our GCs to resist giving into pressures, fears and insecurities by committing to completing their coursework towards graduation with Miami-Dade Acceleration Academies is phenomenal.

— Marcus Moore, Director, Miami-Dade (FL)


When our graduation candidates apply to our program, we know that life generally has not gone as expected. As we get to know them, we see and hear evidence of their resilience around every corner. Many of our GCs struggle with mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, and social phobias. I am thankful to be part of a company that seeks to meet not only the academic needs of our young people but also the emotional, health and financial barriers to success.

— Monetta Ruskin, Director, Sarasota (FL)


In St. Lucie, our graduation candidates demonstrate resilience every day by committing to their education and their future. Every time they engage in their course, work with a content coach, or review their Personal Learning Plan with the career/life coach, they are overcoming all the obstacles and challenges life has given them.

— Paige Latham, Director, St. Lucie (FL)


Our graduation candidates face a multitude of obstacles on the road to success, and their struggles aren’t only on a road to a far off destination — graduation. Many times our GCs struggle on the road to our academy in the morning. I’m inspired by our young mothers and fathers, our GCs struggling with medical conditions, and those with caregiving responsibilities. I’m inspired when I see them walk through our doors in the morning. Despite the obstacles they face getting to campus, the GCs in Wichita are determined to persevere.

— Chris Turner, Director, Wichita (KS)