Have you seen movies like Stand and Deliver (1988), Dangerous Minds (1995), or Freedom Writers (2007)? These films tell the stories of schools and students who have made miraculous turn arounds against all odds. They are inspirational and uplifting tributes to what happens when teachers, students and their parents refuse to accept any preconceived notions of limits or boundaries placed on their success. If you have seen any of these movies, you know that all you want to do at the end is stand up and cheer! Amazingly, such a film could truly be made right now, right here about students and teachers at Tucson International Academy. So grab some popcorn, sit back and be amazed at one of the incredible stories of success unfolding on TIA campuses and see how they have become the school of dreams! Then stand up and cheer!
Midvale Student “Dreams” of Success
There are times that all it takes for us to succeed is one other person to believe we can… and maybe a nap. For one Midvale student, that one person was Mr. Basurto. We’ll get to the nap later…
Sam* knew he wasn’t really a bad kid. He just felt a need to keep shaking fences that seemed to hold him back. Or maybe he shook the fences to be sure they were strong enough to keep him safe. Either way, where others saw a kid who seemed to always be in trouble, Mr. Basurto saw a kid who just needed help to picture what he could achieve.
With Mr. Basurto in his corner helping him to keep focused on his goals, Sam started to make strides. He began to envision a future beyond high school. It was as though it just took another person to help him lift the lid on the treasure chest which held all the sparkling possibilities for his future.
But even with the changes Sam had made, when it came time for the Aims test, Sam was nervous that the new hope he had found might come to a screeching halt. He prepared as best he could but found that on the day of the test all the worry, fear and anxiety had taken it’s toll. Sam was physically exhausted. He was about half way through the testing when he realized he simply could not stay awake and focused. He closed his eyes, for just a moment he thought, but actually had fallen asleep right in the middle of the test. One teacher wanted to wake him but another teacher convinced him to let the young man rest for just a moment. That little power nap was all it took! Once he awoke, Sam was able to complete the test more focused and clear headed. Everyone else had finished but Sam kept working. He was the very last student to complete the testing.
How did Sam do on the exam you ask? He did so well that based on his scores he got calls from schools such as Notre Dame, Stanford, NAU and U of A! Sam ended up choosing to attend U of A where he is working to make his dreams of success a reality. (You can stand up and cheer now!)
The Culture at TIA is Shifting
Students like Sam are examples of how the culture at TIA is shifting. Instead of students just wanting to get by, they are starting to envision so much more for themselves. The class clowns are learning that funneling their creative brains into academic success is more rewarding than being known as a goof off. Students are taking responsibility for their own success and sharing that drive with each other. College is now seen as a viable option for the majority of students at TIA. It’s contagious!
TIA offers kids from all backgrounds a school environment that meets them where they are, and then gives them every tool they need to break through any preconceived barriers. With supportive teachers and a strong family atmosphere, kids at TIA are discovering they are capable of doing much more than they ever dreamed. And those dreams are becoming reality. Just ask Sam.
*not his real name
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