Village Academy One Year
at one year, Village Academy celebrates student successes
By Lois K.
May 18, 2001
DELRAY BEACH + Village
Academy opened in August, promising that students other schools had given up on
Teachers and parents say the academic miracles already have
begun. At a dedication ceremony on Thursday, they proudly showed off the
students, some of whom did not even recognize letters of the alphabet when they
The school, built by the Palm Beach County School District with
more than $1 million in private donations, celebrated its success with a
ceremony that included singing, speeches and vows to continue its 10-year
mission: a 90 percent high school graduation rate.
"No one will fail,"
Principal Gale Fulford said. "Success is the only option."
Academy, which teaches kindergartners and first- and second-graders this year,
is designed to eliminate the effects of poverty through education. It is open to
students who live in the southwest neighborhood of Delray Beach, where many
young people are lured into drugs and crime. The school will add a grade a
Parent Eunice Simmons said her son, Travon Palmer, who had to
repeat second grade, is thriving.
"I have no problem getting him to
school anymore," Simmons said. "He was getting in a lot of trouble at his other
school, and now he gets As and Bs and makes the honor roll. They work closely
with the kids here. There's more one-on-one attention."
Thanks to the
grants, teachers have only 15 students in their classes, compared with an
average of 26 in Palm Beach County School District classes. The students also
stay until 5:30 p.m., and have the option of coming on Saturdays and in the
Fulford said she is looking for 225 men and women so every
student at her school can have a mentor. She introduced her own prot´g´,
kindergartner Antonio Adderly. Fulford promised to keep a special eye on him for
the next 11 years.
For his part, Antonio vowed to "show respect to
everyone and everything" and "follow directions the first time
Second-grade teacher Kenya Chaney, in her first year of teaching,
said she was surprised by her students' lack of basic skills.
learned to accept the students where they are and give them 100 percent," Chaney
said. "I think if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere."Lois
Solomon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6536.
Copyright © 2001, South Florida