There are a lot of reasons why students may not follow the traditional path to graduation. For Dylan Wright those reasons are deeply personal and tragic.
When Dylan was a sophomore in high school, his brother was murdered. The two of them were extremely close, even starting a lawn care business together. After his brother’s death, Dylan had trouble at his Williamson County high school. He couldn’t focus and would suffer from emotional breakdowns in the middle of the day. Sometimes he would just skip school entirely, putting him far behind in his classes. After three months out of school, Dylan decided to give it another try – but not in the usual fashion.
Dylan enrolled at The Academy at Hickory Hollow, which he heard about from a friend. At The Academy he was given the individual attention he needed to keep focused in class. He says he was treated like an adult, not “a little kid.” It was actually a lot like a college environment, where the faculty never gave up on him and pushed him to success.
Now Dylan is graduating, applying to college, and is even a featured speaker at The Academy’s graduation this morning.
Congratulations, Dylan. We’re so happy you found your place and your path to success at The Academy.
Big congratulations and a round of applause are in order for MNPS Middle College High School seniors who will not only graduate from high school this evening, but have also earned Associate Degrees or General Education Core Certificates (earned 41 or more college credit hours) from Nashville State Community College.
Each of these students participated in the Nashville State Community College graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Chris Cotter decided early in life he wouldn’t be another statistic. He would not be “average” or accepting of the bare minimum. He would expect a lot out of himself – only the best – even if he didn’t expect much help from others.
He moved around a lot, often changing schools in the middle of the year. Until high school, he had never stayed at one school for longer than one year, giving him precious little growing time in his classes and with friends. After suddenly losing their rented home to an unexpected sale, Chris’ family found themselves without many options. Through all of this misfortune and despite hard times, his mother stayed strong and provided for her sons. Chris was able to stay with another family, but it would not be the only time he found himself without a home. He realized then he couldn’t depend on others to help him succeed. He’d have to do it himself.
One day while searching on the Internet, Chris found an article claiming young men in his situation would never lead successful lives, never rise above the statistics for “average black men.” He would not accept that.
Through hard work, Chris earned a 3.5 grade point average and is graduating with honors this weekend from Hunters Lane High School. He never accepted Bs and only worked toward As – even in honors and AP classes.
He has been accepted to Berea College in Kentucky, where he’ll study to become a math teacher. The school has offered him full scholarships for all four years, totaling $100,000.
The young man who always has a smile, but hasn’t always had good fortune, has found his path in life. And he will soon be making a difference in the lives of young students very much like himself.
Congratulations, Chris. We couldn’t be more proud of you.