For best friends Magalie Salas and Celeste Medina, high school had never been a comfortable fit. Volatile social dynamics, a need for more personal attention from teachers, and the isolation of the Covid pandemic created a miserable mix.
Add in teen motherhood and these young women wondered if they were ever going to become high school graduates.
“I’ve been to four different schools. I started hanging out with the wrong crowd so I started skipping a lot,” says Celeste, 17. She tried an alternative program but hated being able to come to campus only on certain days and decided to drop out.
Then she saw an item on Facebook about the new Wichita Acceleration Academies, which offered a flexible, personalized path through high school — and invited her to bring her baby daughter, Camila, with her to campus.
“They told us you can bring the baby,” she says. “I like that I can bring her and I can do my schoolwork and the teachers will help me.”
Her friend echoes that appreciation. “There’s no other school like this one that helps, especially when you don’t have a babysitter,” says Magalie, whose son Gael recently turned one.
One recent morning, these young parents and their babies joined others in a room at the school dubbed “the nursery,” and plugged away at their coursework surrounded by other young parents, children and an unfailingly enthusiastic crew of educators.
To name just two examples: when she was struggling with algebra, Celeste said math and science content coach Troy Criss worked patiently with her to break the problems down into manageable parts and fit them together. When she felt exhausted by her responsibilities as a graduation candidate and a new mom, Magalie said that graduation candidate Sean Gates provided caring-but-firm encouragement.
“They don’t let us give up,” says Celeste. “They tell you every day you’re gong to graduate. And if you don’t go to school, they’re blowing up your phones.”
“I never enjoyed school,” she says with a smile, “but now I actually like it.”
Acceleration Academies is an alternative option for young parents and other students to earn their high school diploma. If you’re interested in learning how Acceleration Academies is different from traditional high school, check out our eGuide.