Jorge’s journey began with an early diagnosis of Autism. Doctors expressed their concerns and stated that Jorge would never speak and could very well not recognize his parents. He struggled reaching milestones, and his sensory issues further hindered his social abilities. Jorge’s disposition was further complicated with a diagnosis of Cavus Foot, a deformity which would force him to undergo corrective surgery twice and be wheelchair ridden for months at a time.
Jorge never gave up. He continued to strive and achieve the goals that others said he could not. He showed up to school only to be physically and emotionally abused by fellow students, as well as teachers. Jorge was trying, and it seemed like he was ready for the world, but the world was not ready for him. A world that was far from nurturing and tolerant.
Eventually, Jorge had battled his way to high school. There, the abuse had become intolerable and dangerous. At this point, we decided to keep Jorge home rather than subject him to further abuse. We discussed education options with the school district, advocates, and attorneys.
Fortunately, Excelsior Academy was mentioned to us and we decided to take a tour of this school. We found a nurturing environment in which students were respected, and their differences with which whey struggled, were accepted.
Since his enrollment at Excelsior, Jorge has made leaps and bounds physically, academically, and socially. His level of confidence has never been so high. Never in all the years he attended public school did he achieve such an impressive grade point average, or found friends amongst both students and staff. He has had the opportunity to gain work experience, play sports, and become self aware of his potential as a human being.
Jorge learned about life after high school like planning for college and the help you can get as DSPS, applying to college, and filling out the FAFSA. Jorge has learned about communication and interaction, like how to properly communicate with people, different tones of voice, body language, and not taking over the conversations. Through transition classes, Jorge has learned to cook and studied the world of housing and finance. Jorge has formed a bond with students he trusts and call friends. Jorge has learned how to be a role model for the other students by giving them advice when needed, and reaching out to other students struggling to make friends.
Excelsior has been a big part of our lives for four years. Here, our son has learned to be a better person both socially and academically. Jorge has gotten two jobs that he loves: working as a manager at Eddie’s Cafe, and as an intern at the Digital Gym Media Arts Center. Now, thanks to Excelsior staff, he is ready to take on challenges and try new things. Before, we were told he wouldn’t amount to being somebody special, but thanks to Excelsior we know he can accomplish anything. Thank you Excelsior Academy for believing in Jorge.
Jorge will attend City College in starting Fall 2016 where he will pursue an Associates in Radio, Television, and Film Studies. He plans on transferring to a University to complete a Bachelors in Film.