Family was the focus at the 2012 DC Metro Green Apple Awards. This year, not only did we graduate the largest class of 8th graders with over 75 graduates, but we also witnessed three families with multiple generations of scholars cheer as their new graduates walked across the stage at the Carnegie Institution of Science.
“Tomorrow we show the world what it means to be a Higher Achievement scholar… never forget…you always will have a family…” said one of the Achievement Center speakers.
For Higher Achievement alumna Jennifer White, this event was a double dose of family as her daughter, Erica, graduated from the Ward 4 Achievement Center this year. She recounted her experience as a Higher Achievement scholar as her daughter walked across the stage: “Watching her graduate made me cry, it’s hard to believe she’s going on to the 9th grade! I wish I had a box of tissues!”
Jennifer was a former Higher Achievement scholar, and credits the program with developing her confidence and voice. “Higher Achievement brought me out of my shell… Our Center Director was big on public speaking and how we had to project our voice… I remember he told us that ‘we should be able to talk to anyone,’” said Jennifer. She also said reading was one of the many things she learned to love at Higher Achievement (HAP).
When it came time for Jennifer’s daughter, Erica, to move on to the sixth grade she “didn’t think between regular school and what we did at home was enough… She wasn’t getting everything she needed.” She felt Erica really required a third party with a different voice to help her grasp what she was learning in school.
“I thought it wouldn’t hurt for Erica to see something differently – to think about study skills, to bring her closer to her neighborhood, to network, and to build camaraderie with neighbors.” This, she said, was her “opportunity to see a couple of different view points she could apply later in life.” In the end, the most noticeable gain for Erica is her stronger voice. “At Higher Achievement,” says Jennifer, “Erica learned to advocate herself.”
Erica won’t be the last Higher Achievement scholar in the family though. With her younger brother following quickly behind, the White family is primed and ready to add a third Higher Achievement generation to the family tree!
- To learn more about enrolling new scholars in Higher Achievement please go to http://www.higherachievement.org/apply.