Speedway Children's Charities supports Philips Academy's conviction that children can thrive if they are taught based on what they can do rather than being defined by what they cannot do. Philips Academy is the only school in Charlotte, public or private, to teach middle and high school students, who have complex learning issues and are of average to below average ability, what they need to live and work independently, and contribute to their community.
Speedway Children's Charities has made a remarkable impact in the lives of the students at Philips Academy. Funding for scholarships over the past several years has provided seven students with the financial assistance needed for them to attend Philips Academy. Only with the generous support of Speedway Children's Charities has Philips Academy been able to reach out to these students who would otherwise have been unable to benefit from the unique instruction available only at Philips Academy.
One of our students, Nadya, came to Philips Academy two years ago, unsure of her place in the world. Adopted from Romania at age 4 and identified with learning and attention disorders related to her birth history and early years, she struggled to adjust to her new situation. Prior to Philips Academy, Nadya struggled through many different school placements, never finding the type of instruction she needed to be successful. Her self esteem and confidence were so low, she spoke only when necessary and even then with a barely audible voice. Her eye contact was fleeting at best.
Over the past two years, Nadya has gained much confidence through the successes and instruction she's had at Philips Academy. She has proven to be a very capable office assistant here at school, and has also shown her leadership qualities through volunteer work outside of school. At Joshua's Farm, a therapeutic equestrian program near Huntersville, Nadya has given hundreds of volunteer hours caring for and grooming the horses, as well as assisting young riders. In fact, she was recently featured on a local news channel for her involvement with Joshua's Farm and with Special Olympics. But the person interviewed on camera was not the shy, tentative girl from years ago; she was a poised and confident young woman ready to take on new challenges.
Two other students, Manny and Summer, came to Philips Academy needing a nurturing environment with teachers and staff who understood their learning differences. They needed a school with a focused curriculum that truly prepared them for adulthood and provided ample opportunities for them to practice new skills and hone their talents. Manny has a smile that will light up a room, and the manners and disposition of a fine young gentleman. But he was hamstrung by his learning challenges and was at high risk for "falling between the cracks." His self esteem was at an all-time low and his frustration was going higher and higher. Like Manny, Summer has a very gentle and loving personality. She had experienced greater struggles in school due to her cognitive and learning delays, and as a result, her disposition was more guarded and her self esteem much more fragile when she first enrolled at Philips Academy. Both students immediately found their niche. They responded beautifully to the small class sizes, practical instruction, and opportunities for success and leadership. Summer and Manny have become such an asset to our school-befriending other students, exhibiting social leadership and maturity, working competently and independently-that it is hard to imagine them not being with us. Yet without the support of Speedway Children's Charities, their enrollment at Philips Academy would not have been possible.
Each of these individuals has grown into confident young men and women with very intentional and realistic goals and ambitions. Without the funds provided by Speedway Children's Charities, Nadya, Manny, and Summer (as well as several other students) would not have the opportunity to attend Philips Academy, where they can develop the skills needed to be truly self determined-choosing, planning and achieving a life for themselves, based on their strengths, talents and desires.