By Jennifer Aceves, Head of Upper Division, Noble Academy
Tim Tebow…Whoopi Goldberg…Adam Levine…Woodrow Wilson…Orlando Bloom…Tom Cruise…Keira Knightley…Michael Phelps…Erin Brockovich…Anderson Cooper…certainly you know these names, but what do they all have in common, besides their fame? How about Michelle Blowers, Sonja Bridges, and Benjamin Foss? Maybe you don’t know these names, but all of these people are successful individuals whose lives are impacted by a learning disability.
October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. Keep reading to find out all the wonderful things Noble Academy is doing to prepare its students while meeting the growing needs of our community. At the end of this post are details on two events Noble Academy is hosting: one is an event to raise awareness of learning disabilities, and the another is designed to showcase its students and local artists. We look forward to seeing you there!
In 1985, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October Learning Disabilities Awareness Month: “The crowning wonder of our marvelous universe is the human brain. This organ of awesome complexity usually functions so dependably that thoughts can be transmitted from one person to another across the centuries, across the barriers of language, custom, and place. In all our daily transactions, we assume that others will comprehend and respond to the symbols of logic and language that are processed through the instrumentality of the brain.
Yet many Americans do not always find our language, numbers, and symbols natural and logical. They exhibit learning disabilities. In a sense, they are most aware of the deep complexity of our mental processes, for they must struggle to make the connections that, for most of us, are effortless habits.”
In 1987, two passionate educators responded to the unmet needs of bright students who learned differently and struggled to find success in a traditional educational environment. Noble Academy sprung from a tutoring service called Unlimited Learning, into Guilford Day School, a full-day program serving students with average to above average intelligence who have learning disabilities. Our school began with merely eight students and four teachers, and has grown to a current enrollment of nearly 170 students in grades K-12. Over the past 25 years, we have served over 700 students in our full-day program, and many others through our tutoring and summer programs.
In 1992, our school had outgrown its space and moved to its current location on Horse Pen Creek Road. We opened a brand new building in January 2012 containing 17 classrooms, four science labs, a research lab, an art studio, and an auditorium. With our newly expanded space, we can not only serve more students during the school day, but we can also expand our curriculum. Noble Academy emphasizes the development of the entire student, with opportunities to participate in athletics, student government, drama, art, music, and technology.
Students come to Noble Academy for a variety of reasons and stay for different lengths of time, depending on their needs. Out of the fourteen 2012 graduates, two had been at our school since third grade, and another two only arrived their junior year. Their post-high school plans included 4-year colleges, community colleges, mission work, and entering the workforce. However, unlike many schools, we don’t only celebrate the success of our graduates, but also the success of students who transition to another educational environment before graduation.
All students, whether they leave us after two years or ten years, leave Noble Academy with an increased self-confidence, awareness of the way that they learn best, and an arsenal of new skills and strategies to help them reach their highest potential.
Over the next five years, Noble Academy plans to widely expand our programming to benefit more people in the community. From professional development for teachers to support groups to speakers to summer programs, we will continue to provide valuable resources and services to students with learning differences, their parents, and teachers. August marked the first meeting of the reinstated Triad chapter of the Learning Disabilities of America (LDA), which had been dormant for several years. Triad LDA meetings are hosted at Noble Academy and are free and open to the public.
To celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary, with a theme of Knights Unite, we have several events planned for this fall. First up on October 20 is Walk ‘n Wag, a 5k/1 mi family walk to raise awareness of learning disabilities as well as being a service project for Noble Academy students to raise money for their school and a charity of their choice, Red Dog Farm. This year Walk ‘n Wag also includes a Family Fun Fest and Cookout. On November 30, we are having an Art, Wine, and Design event to showcase not only current and past Noble Academy students, but also local artists, crafters, and designers as well. Both of these events are open to the public.
We hope you’ll come out to see what a great resource Noble Academy provides to the Triad!
Sponsored by Noble Academy