Keith has always been a big, strong kid. A popular athlete in middle school, his power began to go to his head, leading to an apathetic attitude, bad grades, and a lot of trouble. He recalls seeing no value in education and having little respect for anything having to do with school. He swore at teachers, hurt other kids, and felt that he could simply do whatever he pleased -- a bully, he says.
In-school suspension and battling his peers and teachers took up much of Keith's time, but if he wasn't busy with those activities, he was skipping school. Anyone could see he was on a path to nowhere. He now admits that these behaviors masked his feelings of anger, self-doubt, and fear of not being good enough. He was sent to anger management classes, which did have some impact, but his ineligibility for football in 9th grade really made him realize what was going on in his life.
Keith's father took him to one of the first orientation meetings for The Ginn Academy and signed him up, despite Keith's refusal to attend an all-boys' school. A month into his 9th grade year, he realized it was something different. "I began to care. I realized this was the place for me," he explains. "Instead of always causing trouble, I became known for helping out. I became the quiet strong dude. I began to understand that life had begun."
The Ginn Academy's focus on understanding and working with the whole child is often new to boys that have had challenges in the past. Teachers and staff are hired with the understanding that this is part of the school's focus. Keith realized that he was in charge of everything that he did and that his behavior did have serious consequences. He worked hard throughout his Freshman year and was eligibile again in 10th grade to play football.
When budget cuts led to fears that the school might close last year, Keith was one of the students leading the rallying cries to keep it open. "I love this school. We don't have this anywhere and we had to show that we care. It's done so much for me," he says. "I've grown up and become a young man."
Now a quiet leader of his peers and role model to underclassmen, Keith is the epitome of a Ginn Man. In a few weeks he will graduate from The Ginn Academy as the Senior Class Vice President with an academic scholarship to Eastern Michigan University. He is currently shadowing a Euclid High School math teacher for insight into his chosen course of study and would eventually like to be a high school principal. Perhaps he will return to The Ginn Academy to continue the legacy.
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With Kindest Regards,
The Ginn Academy