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Student Spotlight: LEAP Academy Graduates

Student Spotlight: LEAP Academy Graduates

Happy Leap Day! We are excited to spend this day highlighting our very own LEAP Academy and sharing some student success stories with you! LEAP Academy is our alternative high school that provides a path for our students to receive their high school diplomas. 

Kelby Wood

Kelby Wood Kelby Wood was previously in Red Oak ISD, where he was a good student, active participant in the local FFA and the center for his high school football team. After moving to MISD, Kelby and his parents felt LEAP would be a great option to graduate high school while earning his associate degree in welding and diesel mechanics from Texas State Technical College. Kelby was in a car accident that left him in a wheelchair and in need of multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy to teach him to walk again. Despite this setback, he was still able to graduate and walk across the stage to receive his diploma in the spring of 2018! 

Kelby is now attending TSTC as a full-time student and is on track to achieve his goals of receiving his certification in diesel mechanics. He is also working at NFI Distribution Center where they manufacture airplane parts. We are #MISDProud of the perseverance Kelby has shown!

Kassandra Rodriguez

Kassandra Rodriguez's Son Kassandra Rodriguez learned she was pregnant at 16 years old, and she was out of school for the duration of her pregnancy and the first year of her son’s life. She knew she wanted to finish her education, but was unsure how to attend high school and still care for her son.

“Joining LEAP Academy was one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. This program allowed me to work at my own pace while still receiving help from teachers. As a single, working mother, I also had the freedom to work from home any time of the day or night. LEAP Academy provided me with the opportunity to achieve my goals while also making a better life for my son.”

Kassandra is now living in Fort Worth where she is working full time and providing the best life possible for her son and herself. We are #MISDProud Kassandra for her hard work and dedication to finish school!

Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller LEAP graduate Sarah Miller shares her story about her family, her mission and her future. #MISDProud

“My father was diagnosed with cancer 5 months before I was accepted into LEAP. My whole world was turned upside down. I was scared and I lived in uncertainty. Caring for my dad became more difficult as his cancer got worse. It’s one of the main reasons I chose to apply for LEAP, I needed the flexibility in my schedule. I wanted to be there for my dad, and I wanted him to see me walk across the stage when I graduated early. LEAP gave me that chance.  He was supposed to be there to see me cross the stage. Graduating early, finishing LEAP, working harder than I ever worked before, all of that was for him.

My dad passed away in the summer, and I just didn’t know what to do anymore. I quickly learned that if you’re going to survive trauma like this, your mind has to be stronger than your emotions. It’s amazing how having a mission and purpose in life can drive you past a deepening sense of dread or sadness. My mission became graduating early.

After finishing high school through LEAP Academy, I enrolled in Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School. Upon starting, I worked five days a week. I am learning new and exciting things every day, and I couldn’t have gotten to the place I am now without Leap Academy. I am surrounded by people who encourage me to do my best and help me when I need it. Once I finish cosmetology school, I will be working in a salon and hope to get into product design and advertising as well.”

Cheyenne Mittag

Cheyenne Mittag Cheyenne Mittag makes some excellent points about how the path to success looks different to everyone and is not a straight line. We are so glad she received support from others and found a new sense of strength and courage within herself through our LEAP Academy. #MISDProud

“I was a pretty average student, I had A's and B's and was even taking AP and Pre-AP classes, but graduating seemed to get harder and harder to achieve. My junior year my mother became ill, and I choose to step up and care for her. With the stress of both school and caring for my mother, I dropped out of school to care for her full-time. I began to lose hope even more.

I eventually found out about the LEAP Program and decided to apply, so I could finish school. The program is a last chance for some of us, and even though it was a last chance for me, I knew I needed to take it so I could change my future.

People tend to have a negative connotation when they hear the word ‘alternative,’ but there is not always a straight line to success. Without this program, I wouldn't have my diploma, I wouldn't have the courage and strength that I have now.”

Cheyenne is now working full time at Kroger and enrolled to start classes at Tarrant County College in the fall.

Catherine Frazer

Catherine Frazer Catherine Frazer shares how she persevered to earn her diploma through LEAP Academy. We are #MISDProud of her hard work and how she modeled dedication and grit for her daughter.

“Personally, I would not be here without LEAP Academy. I was a troubled kid and became a young mother in 2016. One year after my daughter was born, I decided to go back to school. I only had one high school credit, I was a single mother with a child at home, and sitting through a full 8-hour school day was simply not possible.

LEAP Academy gave me hope that I could still get my high school diploma. The process was hard for me, getting back into the groove of school and having a child. I wanted to give up so many times. I told myself it was too much, but I pushed through those hard times and I made it. I ended up passing all 5 of my EOC’s on the first try, and finished all 4 years of high school in 2.5 years. LEAP has been there through so many tough times, and because of this program, I get to make my daughter proud.

I’m so grateful to have been a part of this program, and will forever cherish the memories of LEAP Academy.”

Catherine is now working full-time at the business she has started with her fiancé. 

 Kyle Roper

Kyle Roper Kyle Roper chose to attend LEAP Academy because it allowed him to graduate around the same time as his fellow classmates. He benefitted from being able to work at his own pace and completing his classes quickly.

After graduating, Kyle chose to serve his country and joined the U.S. Navy. He is currently stationed on a Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut and is going to school to become a submarine sonar technician. #MISDProud