Trey’s Favorite: Small Class Size
Trey said, "I'm learning how to really like school again."
In his former classroom experiences, Trey says, "I didn’t feel sharp. Now I’m learning how to really like school again.” Trey said, “There was always too many people around. I used to love math and science, those were my subjects when I was a little kid. At Achievement Academy we don’t have big classes.”
Trey gestured proudly when he said, “I got one-on-one help with my reading with Mr. Henry. He’s a really cool tutor. He doesn’t pressure you. He’ll break it down with you if you need.” Trey continues to move up reading levels and as a member of our partner student support program, called YES, he gets a gift card as a reward for that. Trey added, “What really helps me to focus is to have a great teacher! And if the work is challenging but not too challenging; it’s always good.”
Middle school classroom size and crowd management seems to have played a key part in Trey’s exit from the public school system. One year when another school’s student body merged into his public school, some of his classes exceeded 35 students. One day there was a schoolwide cafeteria prank and Trey was among 28 students from the huge crowd called to the office later to be expelled from school. According to Trey, that was a very sad day in his house. “I don’t like to be the reason my mom and my grandmother are crying. It breaks my heart.”
Trey is aware of his flaws and is not embarrassed to admit them: “Sitting still in class is an issue. Being the class clown is my way of turning that bad thing into good.”
Trey got serious and added, “I’m always trying to fit in. But now I’m really trying to be a leader and not a follower. I’m a Black man and if I don’t figure this out, I won’t have a lot of opportunities. I don’t want to spend my life flipping burgers. 'Do you want fries with that?' You can’t survive off that!” Trey shook his head and said strongly, “I like being outside. Just to be outside... it helps me calm down.”
The staff here appreciates Trey and each individual student for their strengths. We work hard to understand what they need to overcome their challenges. The Achievement Academy director facilitated a summer 2017 counselor position at the Piedmont Wildlife Center that matches Trey’s appreciation for the out of doors and the soft side of his personality. He will have a mentor who promotes mindfulness and hands-on exchanges between counselors and camp students.
Why choose to pursue a GED?
At Achievement Academy we offer a program that does not promote the GED as an end-point. The GED is one piece in the process of developing a healthy future that goes beyond just a paycheck and a title. We want students to understand their own values system and how to build a life that is congruent with that picture.
If you get to know Trey even a little bit you learn how much he cares about his mother and his grandmother. He says, “I want to be my own person. And I want my family to be proud of me. I want to work in business maybe selling and trading car parts. No job is forever! How I see it is, you have more opportunities with a GED. If you put your mind to it, you can do it!"