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 Giving Thanks for a Life-Changing Education

With Thanksgiving approachingNorth County Academy front entrance, students at North County Academy (NCA) shared why they are thankful for their school, which serves students who face emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges.

Excerpts from their responses are featured below.

I am extremely grateful and blessed for all the teachers and staff. 

My first day attending NCA was very difficult. I had experienced my father’s passing a month before school started. I was in no way mentally or physically ready to start my 9th-grade year. I didn’t have much confidence in myself, or anyone else for that matter.

The staff was very supportive and they all worked well together. It was such a comforting atmosphere that I realized all my worries and anxieties were diminishing. I felt very welcomed by every teacher. They didn’t treat me like a person with disabilities.

It’s now my second year at NCA, and I was so excited to start school. 

There are many bonuses to attending NCA. Not only does it provide a top education, but your own personal therapist. I never had this support at my other schools I attended. With the superb staff, they give me the structure to attain many goals. I would have never had a very successful first day if it wasn’t for all of the supportive teachers and staff. 

I can still remember my mom’s huge smile as I got off the bus with my own huge smile.

— Christian

At NCA, teachers and staff are highly trained to attend to the needs and concerns of students, and to guide them through their own issues with genuineness and care.

Every day, they take the time out of their schedule to help struggling kids. If a student is stressing out, staff will separate them from the current atmosphere, take them to a safe space, talk out the issue, and work out a solution using a wide variety of coping skills in order to bring the student to a safe, comfortable state of mind. 

These amazing people are constantly looking to help kids, and I commend them for that.

Thanks for NCA’s staff and teachers for the work that they do. 

— Micah

North County Academy is probably one of the best things that ever happened to me in the world of education. Why was it such a good change for me? It all started around five years ago, when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It was helpful, but hard, to receive a diagnosis after 12 years of feeling like a misfit and being so different from my peers, who made fun of my quirks and eccentricities. 

Things became even more complicated when I received additional diagnoses of anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder. I had so much trouble learning in a classroom setting. That became the biggest stressor in my life. Finally, because of many traumatic events and severe breakdowns at school, I was able to change schools.

NCA is unlike any other school. It is a much smaller campus and I am treated with tremendous respect and kindness by staff. I am well-liked by most peers. I have all of my needs met. Most importantly, I get to experience things that had been taken away from me, things I have missed so much, such as having fun spirit weeks (and even pajama days!), getting fun class assignments, and even getting so many options for coping skills, rather than having to choose just from a small box of fidgets.

Now I feel the complete opposite of how I felt at other schools. Now, I feel understood and respected by almost every single staff member at NCA. They always validate my emotions and needs, and are interested in my active, vivid imagination and the stories I love to tell. They seem to understand what it is like to be a teen with mental health disorders. 

I could go on and on about how much I love NCA and how it is the perfect fit for me, but in short, I am so thankful for the teachers and supporting staff who have always been there for me. They are unlike any teachers or staff at any school I have been to. NCA has changed my life. 

I have never felt safer at any other school, and even though I still have behavioral problems now and then, with the help of those I trust, I am doing my best to eliminate triggers and stressors.

I am now in my senior year. All my years of school were like a journey, with ups and downs along the way. Now, finally, I get to end it by being at a much better place unlike any other school. I hope to graduate in June, and since I strongly believe in magic, miracles, and happy endings, I am looking forward to starting a new life next year. My adventure is just beginning.

— Pinkie