March 11th, 2024  |  Students & Alumni

Arete Scholars Helps Student Focused on Performing Arts

Sometimes, all it takes is the right environment to bring out the best in someone. For Alana, it was the right school that helped bring her academic strengths, fantastic personality, and creative passion to life.

The middle school Alana had attended was not a good fit for her, according to her mom, Lillian. She struggled in math and required tutoring to maintain passing grades. She also struggled to connect with other students who did not share her Christian faith. So, in anticipation of high school, Lillian made finding a better high school that accommodated Alana's needs her top priority.

During the family's search, they discovered Young Americans Christian School in Conyers, GA. Through their research, they saw that YACS offered a faith-based learning environment that reflected their family's deeply-held values, expectations for educational excellence, and extracurricular opportunities that could help the growth of their daughter not only through her high school years but also help prepare her to be a successful adult as well. 

In short, Young Americans Christian School offered everything Lillian and her husband wanted for their daughter. It was an educational setting that would allow her to reach her God-given potential, the potential they knew she possessed but had yet to tap into. However, as a single-income family, Lillian was heartbroken when she realized they could not afford the private school's tuition.

"We always desired to put Alana in a Christian learning environment but just could not afford it," she says. "So I started praying about it and researching scholarships that would help us so that we could place her in a more structured situation that can meet her where she's at academically and where we know she's capable of going in the future."

"And that's when I found Arete Scholars," she adds.

At YACS, they found just the educational environment they were looking for—a community of success that provides its student body with educational excellence founded upon a Biblical worldview. And through Arete Scholars, the family discovered an organization that could help open the doors of opportunity they desperately sought for their daughter. 

Arete was the way to make it all possible for Alana. 

Now a sophomore, Alana is thriving. While she used to struggle in math, she is improving with each semester. Though YACS teaches college-level math, which is even more of a challenge for Alana, her teacher has created a learning plan to help her stay on track with the rest of her classmates. And if she needs more time on classwork or testing, he graciously works with her and provides extra support one day a week. It's clear to Lillian just how much the teachers care about Alana's success in the classroom.

                                    Alana standing with two of her Outstanding Achievement awards.

"She's doing so much better in math, and we're so grateful that the teachers care enough about the students to address their learning issues," Lillian says. "It has been a blessing that her teacher has taken the time to help her grow more comfortable with learning a difficult subject."

"And she really is enjoying learning now," Lillian adds.

In truth, Alana enjoys everything about her Arete partner school. According to her mom, she has always been shy, making it difficult to meet new friends. However, she's come a long way socially, and her confidence has grown so much since her freshman year. Not only is Alana thriving academically at YACS, but she's also found a creative passion through the school's drama program. 

When asked what her daughter loves most about her school, without hesitation, Lillian replies, "Drama," followed by a laugh. 

Alana interest in drama has grown since she first attended a summer program while in the fourth grade. But, after enrolling at Young Americans, her passion depended for the performing arts. Through a Fine Arts Program, YACS offers students a creative outlet to express themselves—an opportunity that Alana has enthusiastically embraced.

After landing a role in the first stage play in her freshman year, Alana was awarded Best Emotional Acting and Best Actress Overall the following semester by her drama teacher. According to her mom, this recognition for her excellent performances was like icing on the cake. 

"She did a phenomenal job," Lillian says. "And I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter."

The creative outlet provided by the school's performing arts program has been very rewarding personally for Alana, so much so that she has decided that she wants to pursue a study of the arts and major in theatre in college. 

"Anything that has to do with acting—TV, movies, theatre—she's all in for it," Lillian says.

Alana's dedication to the craft is already paying off. This year, she was inducted as a member of the International Thespian Society, a significant accomplishment for someone so young in their career. She was also one of only two students from her school nominated by her drama teacher for the Georgia Governor's Honors Program. This summer program, designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment with the hopes that they can become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders, will be hosted on the campus at Georgia Southern where, for two months, Alana and other students from across the state will represent their schools while competing in theatre performances. 

"I am so grateful that Alana can attend a school like Young Americans, and I'm especially grateful that Arete has made this possible for her," Lillian says. "Without it, we would not have been able to afford her this type of education and wonderful environment."

Lillian understands that so many children have great potential and are gifted and intelligent. Still, because they don't have the proper support or the financial means to change their educational environment to attend a school where they can thrive, they disappear into the system—they become lost. 

Because of Arete Scholars, Lillian is confident that Alana will not be counted among the lost.

"Alana's life is being fulfilled at Young Americans," she says. "What she has been able to discover about herself because of the kids she goes to school with and the environment where teachers genuinely care about their students; I see her living out God's purpose for her."

"Young Americans has met every need and concern we had for her," Lillian adds. "This school has just been such a blessing, and she's just blossomed."