The Covid-19 pandemic was a bane and a blessing. When I had to oversee homeschooling, I got first-hand experience of the challenges my son and his teachers must have had for years.

Ever since I can remember, we dreaded parent-teacher meetings. We would hear, "Your son's grades don't match his ability or intelligence. He's very engaging and smart, but..." For our son, having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) means that he procrastinates, does not routinely complete tasks like homework or classwork, and frequently moves from one uncompleted activity to another. Some teachers in his regular high school understood this. Some did not. All of them could not make enough concessions or accommodations to show his true learning because of the constraints of the education system. At the end of the school year 2020, he failed most of his classes and looked at an even fuller load the next school year. We knew something had to change; he did too.

We enrolled him in Fork Union Military Academy. We chose it after seeing so many YouTube videos that touted the benefits of the one-subject program and the school. The promise of focus, structure, and accomplishment came through. He passed all his classes in this, his first year, a sophomore at FUMA. He would tell you he is most proud that he scored 100% on the finals of two of his classes. He would say that he did so because he studied hard and came prepared.

We took advantage of their academic success program. There he found continuous support and cheers! They found novel approaches to reach him, took the time to learn about him, and flexed their approaches. I have been concerned in the past about the ability of teachers who are not Black to 'see my son' as an individual. At FUMA, they know him, challenge him to be his best, hold him accountable, and motivate him.

I am proud of what he has done this year. As a testament to the place, he is looking forward to going back in the Fall - he's proud that he's earned a promotion in rank and knows he can do even better academically. Amazing.

As I reflect on the past year, I am thankful that the circumstances made me aware of what my son needed. I am happy that we found FUMA. My son is finally in an environment that rewards accomplishments in academics, sports, and character. I am proud that my son made the best of his opportunity, worked hard, and finally has a report card that reflects his ability and effort.

Mrs. K. Joseph, A (2020-21) Parent