Wrapping Up a Successful Summer at Beasley Academic Center
10 August 2023
Caliyah's passion for dance is helping her develop into a leader at her school.
Caliyah is just a few weeks away from starting her eighth-grade year at Beasley Academic Center. While her transition to eighth grade should come naturally since she’s been a member of the Beasley community for about five years now, it is shaping up to be especially smooth thanks to her positive experiences during Beasley’s out-of-school time summer programming.
The first step toward an enriching summer required Caliyah to reflect on how she wanted to grow from seventh grade. She admits that she started out last school year slowly, especially socially, but she built relationships with many of her peers one by one and eventually felt that she had a strong group of friends. She also notes that she was placed in some advanced classes, such as algebra, that seemed too challenging at times. However, after looking at the big picture, she now feels like those classes set the foundation to maximize her academic growth before high school.
And, above anything else, her seventh-grade year was full of opportunities for her to explore her varied and unique interests.
“I’ve been doing debate for two years, and I think I’ll probably end up doing it in high school and college,” she said. “I actually got into debate during the pandemic, and I knew nothing about it, but it ended up being a lot of fun. Cheer is another one of my interests, and I also love to dance.”
Beasley’s summer programming was a perfect fit for a student like Caliyah. Her days usually began by meeting with one of the school’s counselors, Ms. Barnes, who ensured that students received any needed social-emotional support over the summer. Then, she spent most of the day participating in her activity of choice—dance. And, when that programming concluded for the day, she seamlessly headed to a second program—an extension of a program she participates in during the school year—hosted by one of Beasley’s community partners.
Not only does Caliyah view her summer as successful, her dance teacher, Ms. Diana Muhammad, believes that summer programming at Beasley could not have gone much better.
“Summer programming at Beasley has been amazing. I think we created a stress-free environment because students not only received academic and SEL support but also got to participate in things they love that are fun for them,” said Ms. Muhammad. “I also appreciate that students received both breakfast and lunch, and I think programming running from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. was the perfect length to keep students interested.”
Caliyah concluded her time in the program with a performance to highlight her dedication and hard work over the summer. Her experience in the school’s dance program reflects a long history of dance at Beasley. The school is home to the District’s longest-running elementary school dance program, having been founded more than 40 years ago in 1982. Thus, it’s no surprise that she is considering pursuing dance as a future career.
“All of the programs here at Beasley definitely helped me grow my interest in dance because the training here is amazing,” she said. “I also had the opportunity to dance on several professional stages because I’m a Beasley student.”
Since Caliyah is entering her final year at Beasley, Ms. Muhammad’s goal for her is to continue developing into a leader. Ms. Muhammad already sees her as a smart, charismatic student who makes responsible decisions. The support from those around her at Beasley may just be the last boost Caliyah needs to make the upcoming year one of her best years yet.
“Everyone wants to be told that they are a leader,” she said. “In elementary school, I think there’s a split between people who actually follow their passions and those who just follow those around them. The encouragement I’ve received helps me know that I can be a peacemaker, a successful student, and can continue to pursue my dreams.”
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