Our Stories: Nyrobi & Anessa

Many teens spend the summer sleeping in, eating whatever - whenever, and chatting up friends during the hot Eastern NC summer. However, a total of 85 Pitt County teens spent their summer waking up each weekday for 10 weeks, to catch a bus to the Student Success Academy program to prepare for the upcoming year.

Student Success Academy is one of Pitt County’s successful summer enrichment programs with the goal of helping rising 6th grade students stay on track toward high school graduation.

Meet Anessa. She is a typical rising 6th grader who may have preferred to stay home hanging with friends and chatting on her cell phone, but instead she spent her time with Student Success Academy.

Each year about 85 students spend their summer engaged in a broad array of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) activities. In addition, Student Success Academy aims to help students meet state and local standards in core academics like reading and math. Anessa’s mom believes the program has been beneficial to her daughter.

“This program helped prepare Anessa for 6th grade by helping her retain what she learned in 5th grade and helping her form new friendships before going to middle school,” says Nyrobi, Anessa’s mom.

Anessa and all of the other participants were invited to continue with Student Success Academy during the school year. While the summer focuses on middle-school preparedness, the year-round after-school program provides healthy snacks, one-on-one tutoring and homework assistance, STEAM activities and other social and academic support.

Anessa is usually an A/B student but came home with a 14% on her math progress report. Tutors at Student Success Academy gave her the attention she needed to pull her grade up to a B average.

In addition to music and art activities, STEAM activities and hands-on experiments have inspired Anessa’s interest in science careers.

“Anessa participated in hands-on scientific experiments that she would not have been exposed to if not for the Student Success Academy program.”

The Student Success Academy is provided by the United Way of Pitt County and Pitt County Schools to 150 middle schoolers every year, the expansion to after-school programming is funded by a $1.27 million federal grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program.