Franki Mobley-Tarpley started doing leaps and twirls in her family’s living room not long after she was able to walk. And she hasn’t stopped performing since — singing, acting and winning enough dance competitions to join her sister in filling their garage with trophies.
Even as she was graceful onstage, though, she struggled with depression, anxiety and susceptibility to stress. Just as she was about to finish high school, the stress brought on a case of Tourette’s Syndrome, which causes noticeable involuntary tics.
Her self-confidence collapsed. “It was really hard for me to get up and go to school.”
She missed so much that she was unable to graduate with her class. But with barely a semester left, she also didn’t want to repeat her senior year. Her guidance counselor told her about Sarasota Acceleration Academies.
“She said I have a really good school where you can get your diploma still without you having to repeat the entire year.”
When Franki arrived, she found a quiet and spacious learning area where she could settle into a comfy chair, do her work at her own pace and get personalized coaching when she needed.
It was just the change she needed. Her nerves eased and she got her studies back on track.
“Everyone here is super-nice and super-duper willing to help. You can just walk up to them and say ‘Hey I’m struggling with this,” she says.
Franki credits social studies coach Fred Thomas, graduation candidate advocate Frank Cruz and math coach Khaliah Augustin with stepping up whenever she needs. “They always check in, every day … They’re very kind and helpful.”
Franki will join other grads in celebrating their diplomas at commencement in June. She plans to go on to college to pursue a bachelor’s degree in performing arts and then build a career in the arts.
“I’ve never had a Plan B,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to perform on stage.”
Her academic progress, combined with moving away from stressful dance competitions, have calmed her mind. And with that calm, the Tourette’s went away.
Her advice to other struggling learners?
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she says. And know you can find it at Acceleration Academies. “They want to help you graduate. They actually care about you graduating.”