What is school like for a child who struggles? What happens to a student who gets in trouble often? Where is a student to go when traditional academic solutions prove to be a poor fit? This was the very situation facing Michael when he was a high school sophomore. Michael was struggling and frustrated with the lack of help he was receiving at his public high school. He began to act out in class and trouble followed. His GPA dropped so low he became ineligible to participate on the wrestling team. Michael tried tutors and outside academic learning centers, but they didn’t work. He was running out of options. His parents looked at homeschooling and military school, but then heard about a revolutionary private school that was having resounding success with children needing more. It was Brightmont Academy.
Michael set several goals when he started at Brightmont. His first was to catch up academically. Even though he was halfway through his sophomore year, he only had the credits of a freshman. Rather than fulfilling the minimum requirements to be promoted to the next level, Michael re-positioned himself to get back on pace by fully grasping the subject matter. Secondly, he wanted to get better grades. His GPA when entering Brightmont was under a 2.0, but he believed he could do better. His grades were below a C level, so he made it his initial goal to earn above a C. Once he accomplished that, he strived for B’s, and finally aimed for A’s.
In an environment conducive to excelling, Michael soon found that if he put in the hard work, he would reap the rewards. Michael immediately appreciated the fact that there were no distractions in class. Under his own volition, he became focused in order to accomplish his goals. Michael even became more driven because of the one student to one teacher ratio. “I felt that the teachers genuinely cared about me and how I did in class,” he said. At Brightmont, Michael found consistency. “The teachers kept on you, and did not allow you to fall through the cracks,” he said. He was held accountable for all of his actions and that gave him a desire to want to do more. Michael went beyond achieving his goals — he graduated early with a GPA well over 3.0. “Brightmont changed my life. I never thought I would be here — graduating early,” Michael said excitedly.
While at Brightmont, Michael learned some lessons beyond the classroom that he will take with him as he enters his new chapter in life. One of the biggest lessons is to have confidence in himself. He learned that he can achieve his goals if he stays focused. For other kids in his circumstance, he imparts this wisdom, “You need to want to do well in order to do well. You need to look at the long term and know you can get there if you put your mind to it. Don’t have a blindness to learning. Be open to new ways of learning. And be patient.” And after his time at Brightmont, Michael knows that real success feels great! It will carry with him as he enters the next phase of his life’s journey.
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