LANCASTER – The Triple A program at Lancaster ISD is thriving!
No, it`s not where students learn about roadside assistance. This is a different type of help.
“It’s the Academic Acceleration Academy and it is a credit recovery program for students (who) for whatever reason are… behind in credits,” says Eleanor Webb, the JD Hall STEM Learning Center Principal. “(We) give every student an opportunity to earn their high school diploma and then go on to a higher institution of learning.”
The 7-year-old program is growing each year.
“Last year,” says Eleanor, “we graduated 9, this year we graduated 12!”
And now it even includes college visits, which was the turning point for student Destiny Thomas.
“Freshman year was the worst year of my life. I didn`t think I was going to be able to do anything,” she said. “Once we started doing the college tours I was like, ‘Okay, I can do this. I started getting my credits back.'”
“They give them a future. They tell them and let them see where they can have a future,” says Destiny’s biggest fan, her mother Michelle. “I like the fact that it’s so personable. Everybody`s so approachable.”
“It’s been a very rewarding experience to see the students blossom,” says teacher Cynthia Johnson.
“Me and my teacher and principal,” Destiny said. “They would always talk to me and give me encouragement.”
Parents, educators, and police all agree: it’s all about connection.
“You`ve got to build a personal relationship with the students and the parents because you gotta get people to buy into this,” Cynthia said.
“There is hope but you have to want it for yourself,” says Lancaster ISD Police Officer, Sgt. Alvin Johnson, “you have to have that drive and if you`re willing to put the effort in, we can get you to where you want to go.”
“(If it) wasn`t for them I wouldn`t have made it,” says Destiny who’s now created her own destiny. “I want to finish high school and got to nursing school and I want to do cosmetology.”
“I`m proud, “Michelle said. “I’m just over the moon proud.”