High school shapes the future of students


Grayson County High School has added the Dr. Sydney Harvey Academy of Excellence this school year to help advanced and remedial students meet the requirements necessary to take them to their next step in life.

For senior Ethan Underwood, it completely changed his future trajectory.

“I hit an all-time low and being able to bounce back is amazing,” Underwood said.

According to Underwood, this time two years ago he was on the wrong track and was far from graduating.

“I didn’t graduate at all, I just came here because it was the law and now I have the opportunity to get a real degree,” he said.

Underwood is one of some 30 students taking classes at the Academy. It’s a classroom tucked away on the side of Grayson County High School.

The program was added this school year as an individual teaching space for students in dual enrollment courses, at risk of credit recovery or remediation and vocational training to find the best path.

“These are all the things we needed, so we decided to tie them all into one and use it as a sort of multi-worm to be able to cover the areas we needed for our students,” said said Superintendent Kelly. Wilmore. “My job as a superintendent is to educate and graduate and we really think this academy gets us to 100 percent every year or close enough.”

Wilmore said that in this first semester of the program alone they will have recovered about 60 credits, and now four students who were late are on time to graduate.

Students use an online program called Apex to conduct their lessons while different teachers throughout the day are available for one-on-one instruction when needed.

One of the science instructors is retired Lieutenant Commander Shane Collins.

“Not everyone learns the same, everyone is different,” Collins said. “Some students don’t do well in a classroom, and they do well here where it’s more relaxed.”

Collins initially said Underwood would test the limits, but he’s now thrived in the program.

“I get emotional sometimes thinking where these kids would be if they didn’t have this program and it’s amazing to know that he will be the first man in his family to graduate from high school,” Collins said. .

Underwood said that if it hadn’t been for his adoptive father and this program, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“Don’t give up,” he said. “When all hope seems lost, there will always be something out there if it’s as simple as a key that belonged to a family member who meant something to you. There is always just a little glimmer of light. hope; never give up.

Underwood said that upon graduation he planned to go to college to become a diesel mechanic and earn his welding certificate.

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