It’s been a terrific year – ending with a 100% graduation rate from our largest senior class in TPH history. In this class, there were students who have struggled with learning disabilities, students who were born in and lived in a refugee camp, and students who journeyed through personal tragedy. They all experienced transformation through a Christ-centered environment, and one I would specifically like to mention is a student named Cassandra.

She came to The Potter’s House in seventh grade, having transferred from a school with less than a 50% graduation rate. She was assessed and it was discovered that she was at a second grade reading level and was working hard to overcome five areas of learning disability. She met each challenge with confidence and hard work. She was determined to graduate and did so by perseverance and a willingness to complete a fifth year in high school. She has found her voice, which was demonstrated by the confidence she displayed when she stood before her entire senior class and presented her senior project on bullying. But Cassie has gained more than confidence. She has grown in her Christ-like character, and even she can see it.  Recently she told me, “Mr. Booy, I wasn’t a good person when I came here, but I have completely changed.”

Cassandra’s teachers recognized her ambitiousness. Her English teacher wrote her at the end of the year to say, “…you demonstrated fortitude as we plowed our way through some dense and challenging reading and writing; it was not always fun, but you brought a positive attitude.” Another teacher told her how proud he was of her for working so hard to make a better future for herself.  Her guidance counselors were instrumental in facilitating Cassandra’s wish to become a CNA.  She started a program with the Michigan Department of Rehabilitative Services immediately following graduation and is on track to complete her CNA certification this month.

Cassandra (far left)

It is true that our teachers make a big impact in the lives of each student, but it is also true that we are blessed to have the opportunity to teach eager learners, like Cassandra, who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend. As you may know, The Potter’s House uses a “needs based” tuition model. Simply put, those who can afford more pay more, and those who can afford less pay less. Through this model, this fall semester, approximately 600 students will get access to affordable Christ-centered education, exceptional teachers, a safe and caring environment, and a vibrantly diverse student body.