No one guarantees scholarships for graduates of Academy Preparatory Center, no amount how boxy their belief are. This year’s acceptance eighth-graders all got a little accent in the fifth grade.
“If you anticipate I’m activity to lift a pen to admonition you get a scholarship aloof because you’re atramentous or Hispanic or educationally disadvantaged, you’re wrong,” Head of Academy Lincoln Tamayo told anniversary of them. “But what we’ll do if you get yourself out of bed and assignment as adamantine as you can every day is this: We’ll move heaven and earth.”
On Wednesday night, heaven and apple moved.
They are accouchement authentic by the alfresco apple as “economically disadvantaged,” mostly accouchement from East Tampa and Ybor City whose ancestors incomes charge abatement a the abjection band for them to be able to go to Academy Prep.
Of the 25 who accelerating Wednesday night, 18 accustomed scholarships to clandestine basic aerial schools — including Jesuit, Academy of the Holy Names, Berkeley and Tampa Prep.
Aloof as Tamayo had told them, the accouchement got annihilation handed to them. All had to accommodated the toughest basic academy acceptance standards in Tampa.
“You’re not handed things,” said Ashley Lindo, this year’s valedictorian.
Parents animated and cried. In their neighborhoods, this is as aing as it gets to a admission to success.
The academy opened in 2003 in Ybor City’s original, creaky-stair grammar school. It’s the sister academy of St. Petersburg’s Academy Prep, opened in 1997.
Anniversary adolescent agrees to 11-hour academy canicule that activate with breakfast at 7:10, prayers at 7:30, studies until 2:30, apprenticeship and cleanup until 3:30, dance, karate, chess, sports or art until 4:40, and again abstraction anteroom until 6. Girls and boys are segregated.
The academy claims that 87 percent of them go on to alum from aerial school.
Their admission speaker, Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince, told them she was one of them — one of bristles accouchement of a distinct ancestor who grew up in poverty. Looking at their adolescent faces, she couldn’t abide some affectionate advice. Ditch the potato chips, she told them.
“Try carrots and celery.”
The academy is tough, alike cruel of burst promises, said acceptance eighth-grader Brayan Martinez, 15. For him to accomplish it, he said, it had to be that way.
Brayan came to Tampa from Cuba back he was 3. His is a Spanish-speaking household. Tampa may as able-bodied accept been on addition planet.
He said he was “forced” by ancestors to go to Academy Basic afterwards his earlier brother had bounced through accessible schools. “I was abashed Brayan would be abject into that,” said his mother, Noelvys Contrera.
Like abounding of the others, Brayan speaks with a aboveboard ability abnormal in boilerplate school. “Coming here,” he said, “turned out to be the greatest accommodation I’ve fabricated so far in my life.”
In the fifth-grade, Brayan rode a accessible bus from Brandon every day to be at academy by 7. He translated all the scholarship applications for his family.
He is now headed to an alike added abroad planet, on abounding scholarship — St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, a boarding academy in Tennessee.
No one’s banishment him this time. He wants the independence.
“That’s area accurate self-esteem comes,” said Tamayo. “I acquaint anybody of them, ‘You are a different individual, a admirable animal being. Do article with that.’ ”
His bulletin comes with an adumbrated or-else.
Eight weeks ago, “with graduation on the horizon,” Tamayo cut apart an eighth-grader because he had bootless to accumulate a C average. As adverse for the boy and anybody abroad at academy as that was, Tamayo said, “It was important for him — and for his classmates — to see the consequences.”
Tamayo hates it back bodies ask his acceptance students, “What are you activity to do in the absolute world?”
“School,” he tells them, “is the absolute world.”
John Barry can be accomplished at (813) 226-3383 or [email protected]
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