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Siblings Find Success at EAA

December 11, 2023 | Jeffrey Good

Siblings Find Success at EAA image

Jennifer, Valerie and Dominic Amador are three siblings from a close-knit Texas family. When the trio decided they needed a different kind of high school, they took care of themselves and each other in the way they always do — together. 

Jennifer poses with baby son.Jennifer says her former, traditional high school was overwhelming, with crowded classrooms and hallways, limited one-on-one attention from teachers and a schedule that made it hard for her to keep her job as a department store cashier. 

When she got pregnant, those problems multiplied. “There are so many people bumping into you, and it’s hard to sit at a desk for hours,” she says. And the normal school day made it impossible for her to care for her baby boy, Hibron. 

“When I found out I was pregnant, I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to finish school,’ ” she recalls. But she didn’t want to end up a high school dropout, and neither did her older brother and sister. “When we found out about this school, it changed everything.” 

Siblings stand with their babies.

Acceleration Academies of Ector County (EAA) works in partnership with the public school district to offer a flexible, personalized path to graduation for students who need a non-traditional approach. When she and her siblings visited the campus in downtown Odessa, Texas, they were immediately struck by the uncrowded, inviting atmosphere — including small study rooms where they could work quietly.

Dominic poses with son.Whenever any of them needed academic or personal support, all they had to do was ask. Jennifer praised life coach Maya Cotton for understanding the complex responsibilities of a graduation candidate who is also a teen parent. 

“Miss Maya, she understood,” Jennifer says. “She was so nice. She understood that I had the baby. And she was also pushing me, giving me good thoughts, so I could finish my high school studies.” 

Career coach Elsa Caballero was also a big help, helping Jennifer and her siblings to make steady progress toward a diploma, and offering words of encouragement and advice when the going got rocky. 

Graduates hold their babies with group of Ector Acceleration Academies staff members.

Jennifer appreciated that when she didn’t have anyone else to care for her infant son that she could bring him to campus and EAA team members would set her up in a private room, provide snacks, and allow her to work on her studies while helping her look after her child. 

She’s glad she was able to get her high school career back on track. “I decided my high school diploma was so important because if I didn’t get it, I would have a hard time getting a good job,” she says. She also wanted to set a good example for her son, demonstrating to him that it’s worth the effort to set educational goals and achieve them. 

3 siblings pose with their mom and babies for graduation photo.

And she loved that she, Valerie and Dominic could make the journey together. This summer, they were all able to don caps and gowns and celebrate the diplomas they had worked so hard to earn. 

“They helped my family so much,” she says of Acceleration Academies educators. “They did not give up on us — I would not have graduated if it were not for them, honestly.” 

Acceleration Academies of Ector County accepts 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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