Cunningham has been celebrating end-of-the-year successes! Youth have participated in two talent shows. Staff have handed out multiple awards. And we have all had the opportunity to celebrate our graduates. We've been fortunate to enjoy graduations and promotions from CIRCLE Academy, Gerber School, Urbana Middle School, and many more over the last several days.
One of our 8th grade graduates, Dylan, has a special story to tell. He came to Cunningham's CIRCLE Academy in 2010 because he was exhibiting aggressive behaviors in public school. When he first arrived at CIRCLE, Dylan would be quiet and then burst into tantrums where he needed to be restrained because he would hurt others. The staff at CIRCLE came around Dylan and provided him with coping strategies, encouragement, and support.
Earlier this year, a staff member watched an incident where another student intentionally picked on Dylan and shoved him. Dylan turned and walked away. Later the staff member asked Dylan about it and he said, "I kept telling myself that this isn't the person I want to be."
In a safe environment, Dylan watched what other kids were doing and decided he wanted to be different. When he spoke at 8th grade promotion, he thanked CIRCLE for helping him control his anger.
In the fall, Dylan will attend public high school full time.
We'll miss Dylan but we are so happy for his success. Hope begins in a safe community with a good education. Hope begins at Cunningham.