Faces of Freedom - Piper

My family benefits tremendously from the Succeed Scholarship. My 12-year-old daughter, Piper, is able to attend Hannah School this year because of the scholarship. We adopted Piper when she was 5 years old out of foster care. We knew Piper had an ADHD diagnosis when we adopted her. She is definitely a bright and enthusiastic child.

Piper loved school! We actually had her in a small private parochial school near our house, but by the time Piper made it to fifth grade it became more apparent that she was falling behind her peers. A friend of mine suggested we have Piper tested for dyslexia. We did it and not only was Piper dyslexic, she had a “double deficit” where her speech plays into it. It was a very expensive test, and it was a relief to have an answer to Piper’s trouble with school work. It was also a sad time, because I couldn’t believe we had let so many years go by without knowing she was dyslexic and NEEDED HELP.

We tried hiring a tutor twice a week for almost two years. It just isn’t/wasn’t enough. Piper needs intense intervention DAILY. She needs teachers who understand dyslexia and how to teach a child who struggles with it. We moved Piper to Hannah School this year with hopes she will be able to catch up to her peers and be able to transition in a few years to a more traditional high school. Without the Succeed Scholarship, this would not be possible. We are a middle class family, but we have three children. Piper is not our only child with special education needs.

We adopted Kasey (our middle child) two years after Piper’s adoption was final. Kasey was 6 years old when she came to us. Her foster family described her as “eccentric.” One year after living with Kasey, it became apparent that Kasey was not a normal 7 year old. We knew she had a traumatic background, but not much else is known about where Kasey came from. We decided to have Kasey psychologically tested.

When Kasey’s tests came back, I sat with the therapist and bawled. My daughter had a list of disabilities that I had never heard of: Sensory Processing Disorder, Borderline Intellectual Functioning, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Attention Deficit. What were we to do? Would Kasey ever grow to be an independent adult?

We were told there were two choices for Kasey’s education. She could stay in the small parochial school we had put her in, and they would make accommodations for our child to the best of their ability or we could put her in public schools where she would be in with the general population but be pulled out for special ed classes.

Kasey does not deal well with change, and in her short life she has had to deal with so much change and turmoil. We decided to keep her where we had her. Last year Kasey struggled terribly. Her teacher was fantastic, but Kasey knew she wasn’t able to do the same things her peers were doing academically. She began to have daily migraines and vomiting. My little girl who loved school didn’t want to go anymore. Once Covid-19 hit and we had to home school, we knew we had to find another way for Kasey.

Another friend told me to check into Access Academy. Wow! What a perfect fit for Kasey! She was accepted, and — with the Succeed Scholarship — we were able to budget for Kasey to attend. She is thriving there! She has only been there for a month now, but my Kasey loves school again. She talks with love about her teachers and can’t wait to go. I feel hope that she has found a place to help her move from a child and on into adulthood! We need this scholarship! It has helped not only our family, but so many other families like ours.

– Lezlie, parent

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