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Reflections from an Academy 21 Student

From preschool to eighth grade I attended a traditional public school. The time I spent there was very routine. Every weekday when I woke up and went through the motions of life, I traded comfort for spontaneity on a daily basis. I stayed within the lines of a picture that was shaping up to look like a regular suburban childhood at the turn of the millennium. I was happy, yet unsatisfied. At first I thought that the answer to my problem was a more challenging academic environment, but I really wanted a more exciting life environment. So in the same way that I declined the idea of living the regular life of my peers, I declined an invitation to attend the International Academy of Macomb. Then I discovered Academy 21.
 
I’m not sure what I was expecting the first time I walked through those green doors on the first day of my ninth grade school year. I just knew that I wanted something different. I wanted to work at my own pace and in a way that was best fit for me. I wanted a school environment that was welcoming and comfortable. I wanted to break out of the mold that was every day and fall in love with learning all over again. Academy 21 has given me all of that and more.
 
With Academy 21, my classroom doesn’t just consist of four walls. The world is my classroom. English class isn’t just sitting at a desk and writing a paper. Sometimes English class means sitting under a tree at Greenfield Village reading To Kill a Mockingbird , then wandering through houses similar to the one Scout and Jem might have lived in. History class isn’t just watching a teacher point at a map or a globe. Sometimes it means studying the Renaissance Era at a café in the Detroit Institute of Art, and then observing paintings made during that time period. Academy 21 gives me the opportunity to spend time going on adventures and exploring the world around me while still being able to work towards graduation. It gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my younger brothers and sisters. It gives me and so many other students the opportunity to have experiences we would not have been able to have otherwise. I can say, without a doubt, that I absolutely love my school. All of my teachers are caring, kind, and helpful. The love and accept every one of their students. They set high expectations for us and help us reach them. They tailor our education to fit each of our needs to maximize success. At Academy 21 we are a family. We are a family that learns, but most importantly we are a family that loves. I may not have known what to expect when I came here, but every day I become more amazed by what I have received here, and would not have received at a traditional school.