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Miami Grad Malik Frye: ‘It Just Made Me Better’

June 18, 2021 | Jeffrey Good

Miami Grad Malik Frye: ‘It Just Made Me Better’ image

Unlike most of his classmates at Miami-Dade Acceleration Academies, Malik Frye had not spent time in a traditional school, sitting at a desk in a crowded classroom, changing classes with the bell, waiting after school to ask for a teacher’s help.

Malik had been homeschooled since 3rd grade, and when it came time for high school, he thought a 100 percent online school would suit him. But he found that experience didn’t match his high expectations and looked for a different path.

He found it at MDAA, recently celebrating his graduation with his mom, sister and the educators who had helped him soar.

“I was a determined person, but they made me even more determined to get things done,” says Malik, 21.

Malik has big expectations for himself, and he hoped teachers in his previous online school would help him meet them. He was disappointed.

“Whenever we would have a live lesson, there were more than 100 students there,” he recalls. Instead of providing constructive feedback on his online coursework, the teachers seemed barely to be paying attention.

“My social studies teacher was saying, ‘Oh man, you’re really good’ before I would even press the ‘enter’ key on my assignment.”

At MDAA, by contrast, he found a combination of rigorous standards and one-on-one support. English was a challenge, but he got the help he needed. Math came more easily, but the educators helped him refine his skills.

Members of the MDAA team appreciated Malik as much as he appreciated them. “He was always happy, always positive,” says Erick Velis, the graduation candidate advocate whom Malik credits with providing generous support. “He came to the site every day with his brother. That means he was happy.”

Malik has always been interested in politics, urban development, city planning. He might even run for office one day, he says. “I would if I had the opportunity.”

On graduation day, Malik celebrated with his mother, Pascal, and sister Ifetayo. Both say MDAA made a huge difference for Malik.

“It’s like a family,” says his mother. “You’re not going to school anymore; you’re coming to your family and they help you.” His sister adds, “They know where you want to go and they help you along the way.”

Malik has the final word. “It just made me better.”

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