No student leaves the Discovery Academy Honors Program without leaving behind something that helps the remaining students to reach new heights. Honors program students represent the highest level of achievement at Discovery Academy (DA). These students have the opportunity to demonstrate they have made genuine changes. By completing off-campus internships or working in off-campus jobs, Honors program students show they have made life-changing progress.
Honors students leave something of themselves behind both because of the positive example that the Honors students provide, and because each Honors program student creates a bouldering handhold for the indoor climbing wall. The handholds are the shapes affixed to the wall that rock climbers use to climb. When they are finished, holds are installed on the indoor rock climbing wall at DA.
(Watch our video on level 5 Honors program and off campus opportunities…)
Therapist Austin Haacke describes the Honors Program to parents and students by comparing it to baking a cake. When you bake a cake, you have a recipe and a list of all the ingredients you need. If you want your cake to taste good, then you need to do the right things at the right times. For example, if you put a cake into the oven too low a temperature for too short of a time, then your cake won’t be edible. Parts of the cake might be ready, but a whole your cake won’t be the best.
Allowing students the opportunity to complete the Honors Program is comparable to giving the cake all the time that it needs to cook. Honors Program lets students develop the tools and skill necessary to succeed in life with that long-term change.
“We want their kiddo to leave here with the tools and skills necessary to succeed in life with that long-term change,” said Austin.
The real reward of the Honors Program is the changes in the students’ behavior. However, making a handhold for the rock climbing wall is a great symbolic reward. Because students get to design the handholds themselves, each handhold has a special meaning. Some of the shapes that students have sculpted include a nose, a shark’s head, and a wheel of cheese.
The handhold symbolizes leaving a part of themselves here to help the future generation get through their struggles and journey.
“It is the kids’ opportunity to literally provide a handhold and something that peers can use to support themselves and complete tasks. So it is kind of like leaving a piece of themselves and their own unique signature,” said Austin.
Students develop a sense of themselves and caring as they progress through the Honors program. Creating a handhold symbolizes progress in both areas. Students can express themselves. They also leave something of themselves that literally gives other students a helping hand.