I started attending Harmony Science Academy in the third grade. In my previous school, I didn’t feel smart. When I heard about this new school called “Harmony Science Academy” opening up in my city, I was excited to attend. Although I was eight years old, I knew where I was supposed to go. HSA looked like a place where I could be smart. I was tired of being told I wasn’t good enough, so I begged my parents to enroll me.
At HSA, I was introduced to a smaller class size and much more difficult subjects. I still struggled at times, but I had teachers that were there to help me. Soon, everything became easier. For once I felt smart—and it was strange. I was growing into the ambitious student that I probably wouldn’t have become had I attended a different school.
As I transitioned into high school at Harmony School of Innovation (HSI), I found myself getting involved in a lot of extracurricular activities that would allow me to grow and find my purpose: to connect with others. The encouragement I received from HSI to participate in my community led me to gain skills, like leadership, along with the challenging education that was offered. I was able to take multiple AP classes and no longer struggled with feeling smart because at HIS I know that I am smart and I know that I have the capacity to go beyond my current knowledge.
In high school, I also struggled with which career path I should take. HSI helped me, ironically. HSI is a STEM school which embraces STEM careers, and being in this school led me to believe that I was meant to go into engineering because that was the main career that was encouraged. However, I soon realized it was not for me. In sophomore year, my school offered an acting program through the University Interscholastic League (UIL)—a program that provides extracurricular opportunities to students across different schools. I had been interested in acting before, but didn’t have many opportunities to experience it. When I was acting, I found a passion for it; it made me happy to perform, become new characters, and connect to an audience in front of me. Through UIL, I learned that acting would soon become an enormous part of my life. I learned what passion felt like, and now I know that I am meant to fulfill my purpose through performing.
HSI let me gain the education I needed to succeed academically while giving me experiences that would let me grow artistically. I learned integration and derivatives while also understanding how ambition could help me succeed as an artist. The experience and education I received at HSI helped me get into colleges like NYU, one of the top drama schools in the world, and reassure myself that I am headed on the right path to success. HSI let me exercise both parts of my brain and grow as a student; HSI let me grow into the person I want to be.
This month, thousands of high school students will graduate from charter schools across the county. We are so impressed by everything that these students have accomplished and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Check back here every day to see a new charter school graduate in our 30 Days of Grad series. Want to share your story? Join the conversation using #30DaysOfGrad.