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Alexiann Edwards: ‘A Big Change, a Welcome Change’

January 2, 2024 | Jeffrey Good

Alexiann Edwards: ‘A Big Change, a Welcome Change’ image

When Alexiann Edwards moved to Florida from her native Jamaica early in 2023, she wanted to complete her high school career at a different kind of school. 

In Jamaica, she had to juggle 8 courses at a time and try to find her way in classrooms with as many as 40 students. While she’s always been a hard worker and strong learner, she says that at times “it was overwhelming.” 

Arriving in Lee County, she learned of a different kind of school, a place where she could take one course at a time and work in a smaller, quieter setting — Lee County Acceleration Academies (LCAA). 

“It was a big change, a welcome change,” she says. “It’s really great because you get to study one subject at a time and don’t have to worry about a lot of other subjects.” 

Just as important, she says, has been the kindness and personalized support provided by LCAA educators. Particularly helpful has been graduation candidate advocate Jonathan Pauyo. “Mr. J. has been — I don’t know how to describe it — a big motivator. He encourages me to do my best and tells me, ‘Just take it one day at a time. You’ll get it done.’ ”

Math coach Jeffrey Aquillo has helped her turn around her outlook on math, by sitting down and working through problems with her one step at a time. “I used to hate algebra but here it’s easier because I’m getting help.” 

At 19, Alexiann is closing in on her diploma and plans to go to college to study computer science and, later, go to medical school to become a gynecologist. 

“I’m a nerd for science,” she says. And she appreciates the way Acceleration Academies welcomed her to American education and helped her achieve her goals. 

Lee 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

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