Bobcat News

HOPE – The 74 students graduating from the Hope Public Schools “Take Flight” Dyslexia program May 19 launched their paper airplanes into the air at Hempstead Hall to the applause of family, friends and educators.

Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley related “The Story of the Bamboo Tree” to illustrate the significance of the evening.

“You plant the seed, water it, nurture it, talk to it, pray over it; and, for four years you get nothing,” Dr. Crossley said. “Then, in the next year, it will grow as much as 90 feet in that one year.”

He said the point for educators and parents is the reward of their patience with students who are entirely capable, but have been limited through no fault of their own.

“Be encouraged,” Crossley said. “What you are doing matters.”

The point was brought home in two ways during the evening as student Kaylynn Drake gave a tearful and brave rendition of the Miley Cyrus ballad “The Climb” and students Everly Davis, Destiny Thomas and Kaylynn Butcher spoke concerning their journey in learning through the program. Laura Gravy gave a soaring interpretation of “I Can Fly” to conclude the ceremonies.

Beryl Henry Elementary School Principal Dr. Roy Turner said the HPS program should be a model for the entire state because of the effectiveness of instruction and level of engagement it embodies.

“I’m proud of each and every one of you,” Dr. Turner told the students. “Take flight tonight and be proud of your success and work as a team: together everyone achieves more.”

Parents Shamika Roberts and Tekita Frazier spoke of the support they received through the program to help their children succeed.

“My daughter started in kindergarten making all A’s but by second grade it went to F’s,” Frazier said. “My husband and I just knew this was not like our child; she is smart. I cried myself to sleep and I didn’t sleep.”

Understanding the situation, Roberts said was difficult.

“It was getting over the fear and the frustration of being college educated and not being able to help my son,” she said.

Within any given classroom, some 20 percent of the students are dyslexic, Hope Academy of Public Service teacher Shannon Hawthorne told the assembly.

“But a learning disability is not an inability,” Hawthorne noted. “Continue to advocate for your child, continue to read at home, and students, advocate for yourself.”