Julie: A Gift for Rylee

As a military family, we experienced back-to-back moves that our daughter, Rylee, who was also bullied at past schools, did not handle well. Rylee has ADHD and anxiety, and she has never dealt with change well, much less multiple moves and traumatic experiences in such a short period of time.

After unsuccessfully moving through several different types of schools, we made the decision to push for a non-public school, and Rylee arrived at Aseltine.

Rylee attended Aseltine for her middle school career (grades 6-8) with nearly perfect attendance. Rylee enjoyed going to school each day, pleading to attend even on days when she wasn’t feeling well, and she consistently received awards for being “top student” in her classroom and the entire school.

At Aseltine, Rylee learned appropriate coping techniques to deal with anxious and stressful situations. She learned that there are school staff that really do care about her, and, most of all, she learned how to be proud of herself and thrive again. To say that Aseltine turned my daughter around is an understatement.

In her own words:

“During my three years at Aseltine, I met staff that understood me and people that cared and supported me all around. Aseltine taught me to get through situations in ways that other special education programs didn’t. When I arrived at school every day, I felt like I was going to my second home. Unlike other specialized schools, Aseltine staff trust you the minute you walk through the gate, and every day is a new day. I didn’t think I would be able to achieve any of my goals, but Aseltine helped me do just that. This was my journey, and I made great friends and met awesome people.”

Not only was Aseltine a gift to our daughter, but it was also a gift to our family. The support we received from the Aseltine community was unlike anything we had felt before. Rylee’s transition and success at a public high school is a reflection of the dedication Aseltine has to help every student succeed academically, emotionally, behaviorally and socially.

During her high school career, Rylee acheived honor roll status six of eight semesters and also served as an office aide. Aseltine gave Rylee the foundation and skills she needed to advocate for herself and use her disability not as an excuse, but as a reason to work a little harder. Rylee moved away from specialized academic instruction and transitioned to general education classes. She proved to herself that she was capable and her confidence soared, surpassing other general education students with her grades and dedication.

A 2020 graduate, Rylee has enrolled at a local community college to accomplish her general education credits and she hopes to become a book illustrator or even pursue a career in special education.

We are so thankful to Aseltine for helping and befriending Rylee through her journey.

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