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OA grad reflects on time at school

OA grad reflects on time at school

Kenny Banos, a 2022 graduate of Opportunity Academy says he was brought to the school by chance. After struggling in the normal school environment, a staff member suggested Banos transfer to OA. 

Opportunity Academy is a trauma-informed personalized learning school in USD 373, an optional program and students attend as a privilege. Staff strive to build healthy, positive relationships with students and families while building a culture of respect for all and self-advocacy for students. 

Banos made the transfer in January 2021.

“It saved me from dropping out of school and without it I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Banos said.

Banos is now in the military, serving in the US Army.

Banos describes the learning environment as simply, “paced,” saying it’s not too slow or fast, but rather the right speed for every individual going through the program. OA utilizes the digital educational resource “Edgenuity” to help students reach academic goals and standards.

The pace Banos describes allowed him to grow as a student and as a person in his time at OA. 

He remembers a particularly difficult last drive to the school before graduating.

“It was very hard for me to accept my departure, as it had become like a second home to me. I actually had tears going down my face but once there, seeing all the faces of the people that helped me become who I am today, I knew that everything would be alright,” Banos said.

Staff emphasize the relationship between themselves and the students they serve by often helping not just with school work, but also with problems that could arise at home, too. Students stay with the same teacher all day at OA instead of switching instructors for different subjects.

“What I’m trying to say is that I never felt alone. Because I never was. No matter where you came from, what you were like in the past, your background, you will be accepted,” Banos said.

For more about OA, visit USD373.ORG.