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CCAA Grad Michael Demara: Putting Family First

December 7, 2023 | Jeffrey Good

CCAA Grad Michael Demara: Putting Family First image

For Michael Demara, family comes first. When his family moved from a small, overcrowded apartment into a more spacious home after his junior year, it brought a welcome change to their lives. 

But family changes also created a greater need for Michael to help out. His mother started a job that required her to go in early, his stepfather needed to travel out of town for work and someone needed to drop off and pick up his younger brothers at school. 

That someone, Michael decided, was him. That meant the oldest son needed to navigate his final year in high school in a way that worked around his personal responsibilities rather than the schedule of a traditional school day. He found that flexibility at Clark County Acceleration Academies (CCAA). 

“It helped me a lot,” Michael says of the ability to do coursework on his own timetable. “They let me choose my own schedule so I could do my work when I was able to.” 

Michael Demara and family on graduation day.

He also benefited from the one-on-one attention from educators that is CCAA’s trademark. Social studies coach Pamila Florea and English coach Dr. Alana Milich were especially helpful, he says. 

“Miss Pamila is the sweetest person ever,” he says, forever checking on his progress and providing encouragement when his momentum would start to flag. “She’s always on you — and that’s what I like about her.” 

Milich gave Michael tools to break down complicated pieces of writing into manageable chunks. “When I would get stuck on a topic or a question, I would ask her questions and she would get me an answer right away,” he says. “She’d help me piece by piece and it was really helpful.”

All in all, he found it easier to speak up and ask for the clarity he needed to succeed. “I wouldn’t really ask many questions” at his old school, he says. “That’s what really changed me at Acceleration Academies; I asked more questions.” 

He also learned time management, checking in with a coach every Monday morning and mapping out his week. “I feel like I got more responsible with my time. I would have a schedule each day.” 

Michael Demara receives high school diploma.

All the hard work paid off recently when he joined other members of the CCAA Class of 2023 to celebrate his diploma. He plans to join the military and train to become an emergency medical technician and firefighter. 

“They’re strong, they’re brave and they want to save people,” Michael says of his future colleagues. “That’s what I want to do, to put good into the world.” 

Clark County Acceleration Academies accepts new students on a rolling basis. For more information, check out the academy web page and fill out an online enrollment form.

Photos by Patrick Gray.

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