This week marks the 5th year since Black Mountain Academy opened to serve neurodiverse high school students with an emphasis upon intentional daily engagement in our local vibrant community. Over the last 5 years, we have had the opportunity to serve a lot of wonderful young people and families, expand our school and program, and diversify the experiences that foster our students’ growth. Our resolve to remain integrally engaging in our community grew stronger over the last year and a half. While we made strategic decisions to keep our students and staff safe last year, we also remained engaged in our community and, in fact, expanded several opportunities that we had not utilized before the pandemic. Even through the seasons of our highest census, our dedicated team maintained their commitment to individualize our approach to ensure students are having their specific needs and goals met along the way. We really love the work we get to do!
Our core mission and vision has remained the same but we hold a value to maintain a Growth Mindset which has challenged us to improve how we serve students and their families over the years. We regularly hear back from alumni students and parents who let us know how they are doing years after their stay and always enjoy celebrating their ongoing successes. It has been an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience for so many families to trust us in a moment of uncertainty and difficulty in their child’s life. We have celebrated our students’ innumerable successes and walked the path toward healing and growth when they have struggled. Our work is to help those we serve as they pursue meaning, purpose, and connection in their lives and in so doing, our team has found tremendous meaning, purpose, and connection as well.
We have accomplished a lot over the last 5 years. We have supported a lot of students as they have successfully graduated from Black Mountain Academy, many of whom also completed their high school diplomas. Our staff and students have worked hard and played hard in our local community, on innumerable outings and adventures, and during the day-to-day routines that come with boarding school life. We have given over 6500 hours of community service hours in support of local nonprofits and other organizations with whom we partner. We have hosted some incredible guest speakers to teach our staff and our families how to help our students on their path to success. We have grown in our commitment to be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable both on campus and through community partnerships. We have supported multiple residential staff as they chose to enter grad school to become a clinician and continue their contribution to our field. We have facilitated three incredible international trips and are excited to do so again as the world returns to a safer place after the pandemic. We have dreamed big and gained so much in the pursuit of those dreams.
Jesse Owen once said: “We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”
The dream to open Black Mountain Academy is a reality that is now 5 years old. Along the way, we have helped our students and families make their dreams become a reality too. It certainly took “an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort” to do so.
This week we celebrate and reflect on the achievements that we have made, but, most importantly, we reflect upon and celebrate partnering with so many wonderful young people, families, educational consultants, community members, and wilderness therapists. This is also a moment to reflect upon Black Mountain Academy’s ongoing commitment to compassion, kindness, and doing good in the world. To all of you who have supported Black Mountain Academy, THANK YOU for the investment, trust, and care you’ve given our team, our students, our families, and our community!
With enormous gratitude,
Executive Director, Black Mountain Academy