At Acceleration Academies across the nation, graduation candidates who identify as lesbian, gay, transgender, queer or otherwise non-binary find a calm and affirming place to learn. Educators celebrate them as individuals, and classmates form a welcoming community with a common goal — to become the best version of themselves. To celebrate Pride month, here is a sampling of perspectives from GCs and educators who identify as LBGTQ+.
“The coaches here are a lot more helpful, a lot more accepting. I feel much safer here than I did. (My classmates) are definitely much different. I wasn’t used to such an accepting community — It’s easy to make friends here. It’s validating to know you’re not alone.”
— Jaden Bell, who transferred from a traditional school to Bethel Acceleration Academies.
“Seeing their lesbian math coach have her wife and kids come in some days, that’s so empowering. That’s what Pride looks like. When you walk through here, there are so many different types of graduation candidates. That is so calming for GCs who are anxious, who are gay or straight or transgender.”
— Sarah Aquino, math coach at Lowcountry Acceleration Academy.
“I don’t feel awkward here at all. It’s more easy going and non-judgmental. I feel comfortable asking for what I need.”
— Jamari Green, graduation candidate at Lowcountry Acceleration Academy.
“I think it was just the fact that I had space to grow. Not only, like, academically, but I had space to figure out what I wanted and who I wanted to be. For young adults that are in the LGBTQ+ community, trans folks especially, there is a safe place to go to school — and it’s at Acceleration Academies.”
— Nick Montolio, graduate of Miami-Dade Acceleration Academies.
“Finding your voice and being able to help others really empowers you to accept challenges that are put forth in your life. It has made me a stronger person. It wasn’t always an easy road, but I am a stronger person today for those experiences that I had yesterday.”
— Jesse Corona, pictured center left, lead enrollment counselor at Acceleration Academies.
“I can’t even explain how amazing this school is. They saved my life.”
— Jax Randles, who had dropped out of traditional school for four years but then found a learning home at Bethel Acceleration Academies.