The Crossing has only been operating for about one year, but according to their students, there have been some major accomplishments.
A spring celebration was held in Knox at the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center on Thursday night. The gathering allows the alternative education school to showcase what students have been working to accomplish in their academic and personal lives.
Tristen Kajer attends The Crossing as a sophomore. He says bullying he experienced led him to the school – which he hopes to turn into a positive for the future.
“I want to travel around the world,” says Kajer. “I want to reach out to teens. I want to help them. Whoever’s oppressed, whoever’s getting bullied, whoever’s in darkness, I want to bring them back into light and show them that they’re not alone.”
Around 50 students attend The Crossing – which has tripled their enrollment numbers since first opening their doors. The school accepts students who are deemed to be struggling in a public school environment, but introduces a spiritual component.
Apart from earning credits to be put toward their high school graduation requirements, students have also begun working on a micro-business.
Refinishing, assembling, and selling furniture allows the students to learn job placement skills while raising funds for the school. Some of the furniture was available for auction on Thursday night.
The Crossing CEO Rob Staley says a focus on the student’s mind is only one component.
“We really believe that if you can’t get to the heart, you can’t change the behavior,” says Staley. “You can make somebody smarter, but they’re not necessarily wiser.”
Student speakers discussed their trouble with addiction and the law, but cited the teachers at the school as a prime driver of their recovery.
Graduation for The Crossing won’t take place for a couple of weeks.