First in Their Class
For Travis and Collyn, success in the classroom did not come easy.
Travis came to Miracle Farm after he began showing signs of depression, started skipping classes and became generally unmotivated in school. Collyn arrived after falling in with the wrong crowd and having some minor scrapes with the law.
But both boys turned their lives around in part due to the success they found at Premier High School at Miracle Farm, a fully accredited charter school operated by Responsive Education Solutions. In ceremonies held June 1, wearing the traditional cap and gown and hearing “Pomp & Circumstance” played in their honor, Travis, 18, and Collyn, 17, became proud high school graduates.
For Travis, Miracle Farm meant a quick turnaround in the classroom, one he desperately needed to be able to graduate on time. He was able to complete his sophomore curriculum as well as his entire junior and senior years of class work in just one year.
“In an isolated environment, free from technology, I learned self-motivation at the Farm,” said Travis. “For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by men. I could work at my own pace, and I gained a sense of purpose. It was the ideal environment for me to achieve my goals and complete my high school education.”
For Collyn, living away from home allowed him time for self-reflection, realizing the consequences of his actions and the hurt he caused his family. He quickly became motivated to get on track. His dedication to his school work at the Farm allowed him to complete his curriculum and graduate more than a year early.
“It’s a big deal for me to graduate,” said Collyn. “Before coming to the Farm, I seriously doubted I would ever stand at graduation, and now I’m proud to be the first of my mother’s children to receive my high school diploma.”
“Graduation at the Farm is really a unique experience for the boys and their families,” said Caty Paben, principal and teacher at the school. “Because of the size of the ceremony, the boys have the opportunity to select their graduation speaker as well as speak at the ceremony if they choose.”
Many boys arrive at Miracle Farm with past failures in school due to learning disabilities, family issues and behavioral problems, so a primary goal of the ministry is to get each boy back on track in the classroom. With an accredited on-campus educational program, teachers work hard to meet the individual needs of each boy and allow them to achieve success in school, which in turn encourages them to achieve in other areas.
“Premier does an excellent job of tailoring curriculum for each young man. Because the reasons for struggling in school is different for every boy, the tools given to them to succeed must be different as well,” said Alex Hamilton, Executive Director of Miracle Farm.
At the Farm, each boy’s educational experience is customized to meet his particular challenges and needs. The boys attend school year-round each weekday morning in on-site classrooms, where certified teachers offer one-on-one instruction and guidance.
“It’s really just a matter of finding which learning style works best for each boy,” said Caty. “Because of the unique learning environment at the Farm, we are able to ensure that they actually grasp and comprehend the material long term.”
Thanks to the educational program, Travis, Collyn and their classmates have an opportunity to succeed not only on a high school level, but continue on to receive a higher education.
Travis will be attending Texas Tech University in the fall, majoring in architecture. He will spend part of the summer interning with Bogle Woodworks, a fine furniture company owned by Andy Bogle, a neighbor and friend of the Farm. Travis and Andy are working on custom tables that will be donated to the ministry.
Collyn is the first young man to enter Miracle Farm’s new Independent Living program on campus. He has already secured employment with Glasco & Co. Landscaping in Brenham, and will start classes at Blinn College this fall. As a result of his time working with the horses at Miracle Farm, Collyn plans to pursue a career in equine veterinary medicine.
The Children At Heart Foundation offers scholarships to help the boys like Travis and Collyn pursue higher education and vocational training. If you have an interest in providing scholarship funding to help our young people achieve their dreams, please contact Dawson Clark, at (512) 246-4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See photos from their graduation here.