Dear ACE Scholarships- This is Why
Dear ACE Scholarships,
This story begins in 2014 when my husband and I moved to Houston to give our son, Lucas, the best possible elementary school experience. We thought that by enrolling him into a public Montessori school, Lucas would be able to reach his full potential. From an early age, he demonstrated a deep curiosity; he always wanted to know how things worked. He loved to explore, adored books, and always asked us to read to him. Every night he insisted that he would not be able to fall asleep until we had first read him a story.
In pre-K, he started growing hesitant about school, and in 1st grade, he began seeing a tutor. We began noticing that it was hard for him to stay on task, follow directions, and he especially struggled to connect with his lead teacher. The whole process was not centered on attending to his unmet needs; not on what he was doing well and right, but instead, the focus seemed to be on what he was doing wrong.
We, as Lucas’ parents, had to request he be evaluated. The results indicated he had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Armed with this new information about our son, I requested a teacher change. Lucas simply did not have a productive connection with his teacher at the time.
When Lucas began 1st grade, his school implemented an individual education plan, but it was far from effective. His teacher did not have an assistant during most of the school year and I struggled to understand how a quality educational experience could be offered to 23 individual students. Especially when a single class is made up of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-grade students as Montessori is a mixed grade program and individual lessons are given for core subjects such as reading, math, and writing.
And, Lucas wasn’t the only student that required a more specialized educational approach. When I asked the school why he was falling so far behind in his reading comprehension, I was told there simply was not enough help, especially since the school’s special education teacher had left earlier in the year. Essentially, the school did not implement the educational programs or resources Lucas needed to effectively learn his subjects.
I would go several days to school and sit with Lucas to help him with his school work. I began to see first-hand why he was so emotionally depleted and why not reaching his potential. Once more, I requested that he be tested for dyslexia, however, his teacher insisted that she did not believe that was his issue.
We were in the process of getting him re-evaluated, including receiving a dyslexia battery, but it just felt too late. Lucas was emotionally broken, having lost all his confidence. We as his parents were emotionally devastated too. We were so discouraged that we decided it was no longer worth fighting a broken system. It simply did not make sense to us anymore.
The best course of action we could take was to remove ourselves completely from that educational system and explore other options. We prioritized not proving a broken system wrong, but, urgently discovering a safe, structured, and equipped educational setting that could best serve Lucas and begin the healing process he desperately needed.
So, that’s exactly what we did. We moved Lucas to a Waldorf-inspired school in Houston—one that offered us a full scholarship. The school has several strong and valuable elements that, for the first time in Lucas’ educational journey, made the learning process enjoyable. He finally understood what he needed to do, gained confidence, and began to heal emotionally.
Although they did not have a special education program that year, Lucas was granted a full evaluation at the Robert J. Strudler Diagnostic and Remediation Center. Lucas was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD.
This past year, we were fortunate to start Lucas’ education using our own financial resources, and also, we started receiving the financial support that now allows Lucas to pursue private, special education at the School of Young Children in Houston. We have since learned that this program will take approximately two to three years to remediate Lucas’ early education losses. However, the School of Young Children—our ACE partner school—is meeting Lucas’ greatest and most immediate needs. He is thriving academically and healing emotionally. He is self-motivated and loves his classmates, friends, and teachers. In so many ways, he is taking ownership of his own destiny.
Several weeks ago, I asked what he most enjoyed about life. His answer: “I like destiny.” “Destiny?” I replied. “Yes!” he said. “You don’t know what is going to happen in your life. You could get very nice things or something bad could happen, but you always can turn around destiny!”
I felt such peace at that moment. Things are turning around. Lucas is now equipped with the tools to pursue a quality life and he’s learning to navigate adversity and build resiliency. He is happy and he enjoys learning. The School of Young Children had been in Houston for more than 30 years and there are only six classrooms with six students per class. All of the special education teachers are certified and experienced and the director of the school is an absolute professional—these are people I can finally trust my son’s growth and education to.
Here’s how ACE Scholarships has played a crucial role in Lucas’ educational and academic success—ACE and our ACE partner school have become true champions for our family, especially to Lucas. He has received a generous gift that will help him earn a quality education in the school that is best for him. Our family is forever grateful to ACE, your generous supporters, and all those who have loved and encouraged our family.
From the deepest of my heart, thank you!