6th grader Colleen of East Brunswick, NJ recently gave a speech to the members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Speaking in front of over a thousand people worldwide, she was praised for her powerful testimony and impeccable diction. Little did they know that she struggled with reading when she started first grade. Her mother, Carol, thanks Genie Academy for nurturing her gift and boosting her confidence to become her best self.
In first grade, Carol noticed that Colleen was lagging in reading. She was also worried about her pronunciation since they were first generation immigrants. Colleen, who skipped a grade in kindergarten, was now having difficulties in class according to her teacher. Carol figured that Colleen was lagging because of their move to East Brunswick and her pregnancy, which took time away from helping Colleen study.
She knew she had to take matters into her own hands and find a way to get Colleen back on track. She couldn’t just rely on the teachers because if Colleen’s unable to pick up the basics, she would have a harder time grasping more complex lessons in higher grades. In first grade, she's lagging behind. What's going to happen in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade? There’ll be more complex concepts, new concepts, and if you don't grasp it well in the lower grades, you won’t pick it up [then].” This motivated Carol to look for reading programs online, where she found Genie Academy. Satisfied with the reviews, she enrolled Colleen in the reading, common core, and abacus programs. She wanted to enroll her in different programs because she didn’t want Colleen to be average, she wanted her to rise to the top percentile of her class. More recently, she added our writing program to the roster, too.
Carol’s efforts paid off as Colleen grew into an exceptional and well-rounded student. She’s been a consistent principal’s list and honor roll student since 3rd grade. She also plays piano and clarinet in her school band as well as tennis, soccer, volleyball, and track. “We’ve been in Genie Academy since first grade because it helps her a lot,” says Carol.
One of her most remarkable achievements is when she delivered a 45-minute speech to thousands of people, both live and online. She got handpicked by her Church to preach on the topic “Let’s be Courageous”, with people all the way from Africa watching through Youtube. Carol couldn’t be prouder as compliments started pouring in. People commented that adults can’t even do what Colleen did and that the speech was perfect for her age. “It was amazing. We realized that she was really good at speaking.” A few years ago, Carol was worried that Colleen won’t be able to speak English well, but now Colleen is admired for her public speaking skills. A complete 180!
Carol credits Genie Academy for boosting Colleen’s confidence so she could grow into the best version of herself. “Before, Colleen knew what she’s supposed to do but until you give her the go signal, she would hesitate a little bit. I know her to be a little shy.” “The teachers in Genie Academy encouraged her constantly, which motivated her to excel in what she does.” She also noticed that Colleen’s initiative improved greatly. Before, she needed to remind her of her homework but now, Colleen does them without being told. “She’s so independent because she has that confidence.”
Her outstanding skills and superior grades didn’t go unnoticed by her school. Recently, she got handpicked by her teachers to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum for the Pathways to STEM program.
Other parents can’t help but ask Carol what she does for Colleen to excel in different fields. She simply says, “Genie Academy helps her.” Other parents would hesitate to spend money for it but she believes it’s important for her child’s success. “As a parent, I have to put in the effort. Teachers can’t do everything. They give you the weapons but it’s up to the child to use the resources she’s been given. I have to make sure she follows through with that, as her parent.”
With Carol and Genie Academy empowering her, she now has what it takes to excel in school and in life. From lagging behind in reading to acing her public speech, she truly knows how to be courageous!