January 29, 2013

She’s only seven years old, but Kyleigh Evans has already been shuffled through three different schools.  For four years, her mother searched for a school that could accommodate Kyleigh’s special needs, but it wasn’t easy.

 “Kyleigh was really behind,” said her mom, Angela Atkinson.  “She couldn’t write her name, couldn’t write her letters, and she was in a regular class.”

It was tough for Angela to stay upbeat, since she couldn’t afford to send Kyleigh to a private school that could meet her needs.

“Learning was so hard,” Angela said. “She’d have a mental breakdown every day—bawling, screaming.”

But when Kyleigh accepted a scholarship through the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program to Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy in the fall of 2012, things turned around quickly.

“The teachers were determined,” Angela said. “They told me, ‘She’s going to write her letters, she’s going to write her name,’ and now she can.  Now, she’s writing her name on her own.  She can tell us the sounds, or if it’s an uppercase or lowercase letter.”

The changes weren’t just academic—they offered hope emotionally, too.

“She’s extremely excited to go to school every day,” Angela said.  “Now, Kyleigh can’t wait to do homework every night.”

Angela considers her daughter’s scholarship to a school that is designed for children with special needs nothing less than a godsend.

“It’s just a miracle,” Angela said. “Without it, she would be lost.  What Kyleigh hadn’t gotten in years, she’s gotten in a semester.”