More than 160-Nashville school kids can say they beat the odds.
At one time, they were on a road to being drop outs, but now they are graduates.
All of them attended Metro school’s three academies for students who had trouble of some kind in traditional high schools.
“I never thought I was going to finish. I had a baby at the end of my junior year,” said 18-year-old Samantha Powell who attended the Academy at Hickory Hollow. “They pay very close attention to everybody.”
She showed us around the large open classroom of the Academy that’s now in part of the former Hickory Hollow Mall in the Antioch area of Nashville.
At the suggestion of a principal at her former high school, the Academy is where Samantha went in January after falling behind.
“I got more learning at the Academy than I did at past high schools because I was more focused and dedicated,” she told News 2. “Because the teachers were dedicated to me, I dedicated my time to them.”
Kyle Russ is one of those teachers at the Academy at Hickory Hollow.
“The big thing that Samantha needed was a little confidence,” said Russ who is in his second year at the Academy after more than 20-years in more traditional classrooms.
“We have a lot of kids who we give confidence, and we can do that because we are a little smaller, and able to work a little more one on one with these kids, and we get to know them very well, and I think that is key.”
Next for Samantha is Nashville State with the dream of being a neo-natal nurse; they are dreams she says that were not there before her time at the Academy.
The other two Academies are at the former Cockrell Bend Elementary and at Opry Mills.
All three had graduations this week.