COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHTAs many as 46% of foster teens do not have a high school diploma and close to 50% will experience homelessness after their 18th birthdays. Some foster children have lived in 10 or more homes and attended as many as 15 different schools. Each school change creates another setback for a child who is rarely equipped to do work at their grade level. The lack of stability and consistency has a negative impact for years to come.
Orangewood Children’s Foundation has responded to this critical need in Orange County by funding and opening a high-performing, college-preparatory public charter high school called The Academy.
The idea for The Academy started almost 10 years ago with Ducks Owner Susan Samueli and Sandi Jackson, two local philanthropists and members of the board of directors of Orangewood Children’s Foundation. Susan and Sandi were concerned about the low high school graduation rates among teens in Orange County, including foster care teens served by Orangewood. They decided to explore new educational opportunities for local high school students and research best practices around the country. They rallied like-minded individuals and organizations from philanthropy, business, education and child advocacy to join their efforts.
The Academy’s mission is to provide a transformational learning environment to foster, underserved and community teens, offering consistency, stability, support, and a community in which to belong, thrive, and grow into responsible, independent adults. The outcomes from the first year of operation show The Academy is well on its way to achieving this mission. The attendance rate in the first year was 97% – one of the highest rates of any school in Orange County. Additionally, 50% of students finished the first year with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Throughout the course of the season, design students from The Academy, a product of Orangewood Children’s Foundation, have been preparing and researching for a t-shirt design contest in which the winner’s t-shirt will be featured in the Anaheim Ducks Team Store for purchase.
The three winning t-shirt designs and one winning hat design are being sold for $29.99 in the Anaheim Ducks Team Store. 100% of the proceeds will benefit The Academy.