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SAA Grad Bryce Johnson: Getting Back on Track Post-Pandemic

October 4, 2022 | Jeffrey Good

SAA Grad Bryce Johnson: Getting Back on Track Post-Pandemic image

When the Covid pandemic shut his public high school in 2020, Bryce Johnson didn’t spend the long months toiling away at home via a remote learning program. He got a full-time job as a construction worker and focused on supporting his family and establishing his adult life.

A high school diploma seemed a goal whose time had passed. “I was going to go with my GED,” says Bryce, 19. “But then my guidance counselor told me about Acceleration Academies.”

At the Sarasota campus, Bryce found a program that would allow him to keep his job, fit his academic work around his other responsibilities and get the kind of academic and personal support that are an SAA hallmark.

“Frank has been my number one guy,” Bryce says, referring to Frank Cruz, a graduation candidate advocate known for pushing young learners to be their best selves. When Bryce lost momentum for a period after enrolling, he says, “He would always be blowing up my phone, texting me, calling me, just reaching out.”

“It was a lot of support,” says Bryce — and he appreciated it.

Also instrumental was math coach Khaliah Augustin, who helped Bryce master geometry. “I can’t put together shapes to save my life. She would teach geometry in the way I can understand it.”

Using a whiteboard behind her desk, Augustin patiently walked Bryce through such important but challenging lessons as using the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle. “She’s the sweetest teacher I’ve ever met in my life.”

After graduating, Bryce is working toward his general contractor’s license and making plans to study finance or business in college. Some day, he says, he might like to become a real estate or stock broker.

And his advice for other young people who might be considering calling it quits? “Don’t give up — no matter what life throws at you.”

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