A Lifeline to Hope and Academic Success
Ceryle Poole loves to read. That’s not unusual for a bright, 16-year-old girl who plans to become a psychologist or physician. But it brings tears to the eyes of her mother, Judy, who remembers a time when Ceryle’s academic future didn’t seem so bright.
Early on, Ceryle didn’t meet grade-level expectations, so her parents hired a tutor and spent hours working with her. Her teachers suggested that Ceryle might have a learning disability, but they offered no testing or diagnostic tools. Then, the family enrolled her at Holy Rosary Catholic School.
Holy Rosary serves children in grades pre-K through eight, and is dedicated to providing children from low-income families a quality education. The school has an onsite clinic that offers mental health services, speech and language services and other academic support services. Hope Haven, a nonprofit organization that focuses on children with special needs, runs the clinic, and all of its services are free or greatly reduced.
Through Hope Haven’s partnership with Holy Rosary, Ceryle was diagnosed with short-term memory loss, and it changed everything. Finally, she and her parents had an answer, and they understood why Ceryle struggled so much in school. Holy Rosary and Hope Haven knew how to accommodate Ceryle’s disorder with learning strategies, teaching techniques and other tools.
In short order, Ceryle “blossomed,” Judy says. Her grades improved and so did her enthusiasm for school. Now, she’s a junior at Bishop Kenney High School and looking forward to college. “Her self-esteem was so low,” Judy says. “She would have dropped out of school if not for the services we received from Holy Rosary and Hope Haven.”
Baptist Health has supported the Hope Haven/Holy Rosary clinic for the past two years. “Baptist is an amazing partner,” says Barbara Brutschy, director of intake services at Hope Haven. “Their grant makes the program possible and helps us offer services at no cost or a significantly reduced cost. Academic testing, for example, can cost up to $2,000 and many families simply can’t afford it.”
The partnership with Hope Haven – and Ceryle’s growth – also underscore a simple, but fundamental, truth about education. “Schools can’t do everything by themselves,” says Holy Rosary’s principal, Sister Dianne Rumschlag. “The partnership with Hope Haven is really a lifeline for us and for our community.”