Slowly, I drove through the parking lot of Eagleview Middle School, trying to spot my youngest son, Joseph, waiting for me. He looked so sad and withdrawn. It was his first year in middle school. He is usually a happy and compassionate person, with the strongest desire to learn. His years at Foothills Elementary were blessed by an incredible talented and gifted (TAG) program. The TAG program was run by an amazing teacher. But, now in middle school, his motivation for learning was slowly dissolving it seemed. He was so depressed every day; I felt desperate, almost frantic, to do something. My oldest son had the same issues at Eagleview, and he never recovered the motivation for learning. They are completely different people, with Joseph being more introverted than my oldest son. This made me feel even more helpless.
Then one day Joseph brought home a flyer about a science day at the University of Colorado Springs (UCCS) and it was associated with the After School University. We both excited to see what this was about. We both attended and the Physics Professor asked Joseph’s lots of questions. We also met Maria Feekes, who gave us some more information about the individualized tutoring program at After School University.
Over the next four years, Joseph attended at After School University Calculus, Physics, and several programming classes. He learned LabView, C++ and Java. Although the actual middle school classes did not keep him challenged, the courses at After School University did. It allowed him then to go into high school while being in 8th grade, and accelerate to the level of his abilities from there. Joseph recently graduated from Air Academy with a 4.7 GPA, 19 hours of Math from UCCS and 37 AP credits. He is attending the Colorado School of Mines, with a double major in Applied Mathematics and Physics. And most of all, Joseph’s thirst of learning lives on, which actually is a tremendous source of happiness for Joseph. After School University played a vital and critical role in supporting his learning journey. Looking back, we both agree that we would do the same thing again.
Joseph at his graduation from Air Academy High School