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Diago Harris:  ‘They Understand You Have a Life Outside of School’

November 28, 2023 | Jeffrey Good

Diago Harris: ‘They Understand You Have a Life Outside of School’ image

Diago Harris ran with a rough crowd and, before long, lost interest in school. He dropped out, landed a job in construction and, for a time, felt like his life was on a positive trajectory. 

But then he looked around at the older men wearing themselves out at work that barely paid a decent wage. He thought, “I don’t want to do construction all my life.” 

He was living on his own and needed to work to cover expenses, so a traditional school and its 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule was out of the question. He began researching alternatives and discovered Wichita Acceleration Academies (WAA), which offered a web-based curriculum, personalized support from teachers and a work-friendly academic schedule. 

“They got me right in” and made him feel welcome, Diago says of the WAA team.

Graduate hugs man.He began working at McDonalds, making burgers and fries and sometimes needing to work the third shift. Some days, he would work through the night, take a shower and go right to the WAA campus. 

“I wanted to get the schoolwork done,” he says. “It was more important than sleeping.” 

Graduate in cap and gown.

There were times when the demands of work and school weighed on him and his momentum began to flag. But the WAA team, particularly career coach Brandy Gordon, urged him to bear down and achieve his goal. 

“It gave me motivation,” he says. “I was pushing and pushing and pushing it off, but I decided it was time to get it done.” 

His efforts paid off when he joined other members of the WAA Class of 2023 to celebrate his diploma. He’s begun laying the groundwork for a career in barbering, hoping to open his own shop some day. 

He appreciates the way WAA educators kept him focused on academics, but also realized that he had other responsibilities. “They understand you have a life outside of school.” 

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