Making the leap from aggression to friendship
Who says people can’t change? Take Sergio. Once a hyperactive, explosive little boy who talked incessantly, threatened his peers and had little control over his mood swings and behavior, Sergio evolved and blossomed over his years at Westbridge. Today, he’s doing well, in control and enrolled in community college.
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”
The transformation was gradual – with plenty of ups and downs – but steady, thanks to his commitment to one-on-one instruction and counseling, and his mother’s active support of her son’s development at home. Sergio also loved (and needed) the structure at Westbridge and eventually began to win awards for academics and behavior. He not only took pride in his achievements but he also became a star performer at the school’s talent show as a dancer. The younger students looked up to him.
As he matured and grew, “everyone wanted to be his friend – he was a very nice kid and very engaging,” says Westbridge’s Student Services Coordinator Lee Buchanan. Sergio was eventually able to be medication free and ready for his future. He recently came back to school to attend the talent show at which he once excelled, to let everyone know how he was doing and to see old friends and teachers. It was great to have him back.
A former student returns to school as a role model
What goes around comes around. Those words have particular meaning when describing Franklin, a young man who started at Westbridge Academy when he was seven years old. Eventually, Franklin went back to public school in the 11th grade, graduated from high school, and recently visited Westbridge as a member of the U.S. Marine Corp to share his story. His message to students was simple: You can succeed, too!
Franklin was a foster child with severe ADHD. He was impulsive, easily distracted, defiant and disruptive. But over the years, with the help of his supportive foster mother, Franklin steadily developed the skills and discipline he needed. “I want you to know,” he said addressing Westbridge Academy high school students, “that you have a future. After describing his early inability to control himself, he said, “I had the same goals you have, and you can reach them. Do what you need to do here.”
With structure, consistency, rules, consequences, and a sense of safety, Franklin developed the ability to control his behavior in a way that helped him succeed as a student and a friend. He also benefited from regular therapeutic counseling, where he could talk about his feelings and his emerging sense of self.
Perhaps most important for Westbridge Academy students, he also felt the need to give back, to share his personal story. And for that, we thank him.
From silence to a full college scholarship
The sound of silence can be a protective mechanism for children who’ve come from a difficult and destructive home life. That’s the choice Ana made as a little girl. She was selectively mute when she came to Westbridge Academy as a six year old.
Thankfully, she and her sisters were removed from her home and raised by a loving and strong grandmother, with additional support from her extended family. At Westbridge, she began to feel safe and soon started to speak and excel academically. Eventually she transferred to a high school in her school district, graduated and is now attending a state university on a full scholarship!
So what is the once-silent little girl planning for her life? She’s studying to become a teacher.