Far from the busy cities and suburbs most Americans inhabit are communities like Fayetteville, North Carolina a sprawling city among the state’s six-largest, with a rich past that would make any history buff proud. It is there that a revolutionary model for education is preparing future leaders in ways that pay tribute to the city’s pioneering roots.
Fayetteville was named for the French hero who aided the Americans, the Marquis de Lafayette. Fayetteville citizens declared their independence before the Declaration of Independence was signed, and it was there in 1789 that the state ratified the U.S. Constitution. It was economically successful for all the reasons agrarian societies were, and into the 20th century, the city and environs grew dramatically post-World War II. Eventually, it would house Fort Bragg, one of the Army’s largest installations. Its economic success seemed all but assured for generations to come.
Except it wasn’t. The upheaval of the 1960s and vestiges of segregation would continue. Eventually, like so many places, agriculture would no longer sustain the area. Society’s challenges would take a toll on the community and on the schools. Fewer students well-educated meant fewer people working, less business and declining school quality. Split fairly equally between black and white, the city’s average income is less than $45,000. These are not communities in which most people seek to live. Despite its noble history from the time of its founding until more recent years, Fayetteville’s youth are at risk of not moving forward as so many generations of people right there in that city once did.
Thankfully, some people seek revolutionary change for children and families daily. Eugene Slocum, founder of Alpha Academy, his board and his faculty are just such people. They saw the failure of traditional education to restore success and accomplishment to families. So they started a school.
Founded 18 years ago on a shoestring budget, Alpha Academy is well on its way to achieving its vision: “to be one of the most successful schools in the world. Success is measured by our service to the community while helping students graduate, obtain successful careers, and become model citizens of the world.”
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