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03.16.23 - grow young with us

Hello Firehawk Families,


I hope you are having a restorative Spring Break! This is a long email so please bear with me.  The State of the Young has been rescheduled from Thursday, April 6 to Thursday, April 13 at 6:00 pm. (You may click here to see the original email regarding the specifics of The State of the Young as well as answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Capital Campaign and the new campus – seriously read the FAQs!)


Consequently, please mark your calendars for the rescheduled State of the Young: Grow Young With Us Version. At this meeting, we will discuss new campus developments, the Grow Young With Us capital campaign, and operational sustainability. We strongly encourage at least one family member from each family to attend.  The State of the Young will hold no surprises (we are not announcing tuition rate increases, significant changes in personnel, budgetary shortfalls…all of the scary things you can imagine.)  The meeting is what is states it is – a snapshot of where the academy stands financially. 


The NEW Date/Time

Date: Thursday, April 13

Time: 6:00 pm

Place: 608 Henrietta Creek, Roanoke, TX 76262


Grow Young With Us Campaign Update

As you are aware, our goal is to reach 100% participation of all families, faculty and board member and our $300,000 goal.  You may click here to see current school wide incentives and here for donor recognition opportunities. Below you will find our current status: 

Current Goal                             46%

$139,200 of $300,000


Family Participation Rate:           29.7%

22 of 74 Families


Board Participation Rate:           100%


Faculty Participation Rate:          81%


Breakdown by Groups:            


45% of K-2

9 of 20 Scholars


37% of 3-6

10 of 27 Scholars


41.6% of 7-8

5 of 12 Scholars


45.4% of House Copernica

5 of 11 Scholars


22.2% House Daktylis

2 of 9 Scholars


36.% of House Sirius

4 of 11 Scholars


To assist in reaching our goals and to ignite some friendly competition, we are also issuing the following challenges. 


Individual Participation Challenge

Within the Main Hall at the new campus will be a 54% leafless tree. The first time a donation is made in any amount in a scholar’s or faculty member’s name, they will get to place a leaf on the tree.  The scholar’s name will be printed on the leaf. 


Participation by Advisory Challenge

Each homeroom advisory class has been assigned to a Team. The Teams are:

K – 2     Stanford/Hitchings

3-6        Baines/B. Edins

7-8        Sturgeon

House Daktylis - McGhee

House Sirius - Brown

House Copernica – J. Edins


Each team will work to reach 100% participation.  The first team to reach 100% participation will earn an incentive within reason of their choosing and of course approved by administration and faculty!


A Word From Ms. Lyda


Three years ago today, I recorded a video message to our Firehawk Community. I never shared the video because I couldn’t get through the recording. Although we didn’t know it then, The Before was over. What we did know was that our beloved community would not return to campus after Spring Break. For many of us, this news was shattering. Seeing what was happening globally and now hitting home was shocking, numbing, and dumbfounding. As empathetic and in tune with other communities as we may think we are – we can’t truly fathom the depths of their experiences until those experiences truly, directly, and forcefully hit home.


And they did.  


We thought we might have an extended Spring Break for a week or two while the epidemic (at the time) passed. Instead, the extended Spring Break turned into a completely different educational journey over the span of multiple academic years. Through that first Spring Break, our faculty worked tirelessly to create a synchronous remote learning experience tailored to preserve the integrity of our pedagogical model. The resilience of our faculty, scholars, and families was awe-inspiring. 


The During was brutal. Communities across the globe experienced a collective trauma. And even though our school community is small, our tightly knit Firehawk Family is mighty in impact. We drew strength from each other, provided stability when the world felt like it was losing its footing, and provided a safe place to connect and stay engaged. 


The preceding narrative is just a glimpse into the School That Shouldn’t Be – E.A. Young Academy. What started as a grass-roots project during the 2011-2012 academic year, in an area with strong public schools, a rich choice of private schools, and an economic downturn, kicked off the next decade of the Young Academy journey. Against all odds, we dared to hope for the unique needs of our scholars. As Benjamin Mee stated in We Bought a Zoo, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Six families leaped into the unknown without a seed fund, investors, or even one prominent backer. Most of us worked without pay and kept moving ahead, 20 seconds at a time on many days.


Abruptly, before the 2012-13 academic year began, we were forced to move locations. We had mere days to find a campus that met city codes, ordinances, and state requirements. This challenge alone could have broken our small community, but serendipitously, our North Richland Hills location became available, and the fledging community rallied.  


In 2013-2014 we inherited a high school program. (That’s another story for another day). Becoming an accredited school moved from a five-year plan to an urgent need. But our community coalesced, and by 2015 we received our accreditation. The decision to seek accreditation was a monumental undertaking and required 20 more seconds of insane courage.


The 2015-2016 academic year saw the emergence of E.A. Young Academy as a force to be reckoned with through competitions in Destination Imagination, The Fort Worth Regional Science and Engineering Fair, the Duke Talent Identification Program, presentations at the Texas Association of Gifted and Talented conferences, and awards of excellence in teaching and advocacy. However, the growth of the school began to stress its financial backbone. The academy was running at a financial loss, and the numbers were daunting. 


The 2017-2018 brought about a 23% increase in our lease and the potential of a significant deficit. E.A. Young needed to change how we operationally set and managed our budget. Most private schools derive up to 20% of their operating income from their Annual Fund Campaign. However, we chose to take a different path. Our board made the tough decision to move away from using an Annual Fund to fund operational expenses. Instead, tuition would be set at the rate required to run the school without dependence on an Annual Fund.


Future fundraising campaigns would be allocated to things such as capital expenses, special projects, and, ideally, in the future, scholarships. Along with this change in budget philosophy, the difficult decision to raise tuition was reached. Small group meetings were held, difficult questions answered, and our community took 20 more seconds of bravery and made the hard choices.  We did not conduct an Annual Fund campaign during remote learning and pandemic years. The pandemic took its toll on many in our community, and it did not feel right to ask for more than what was absolutely needed at the time. Many families make significant financial sacrifices for their children to attend Young Academy; we are always aware of and honor those sacrifices.


We had brief moments of pseudo-normalcy last year and were beginning to see glimpses of what we were and are becoming. The challenges of operating two campuses not designed to meet our scholars' learning/thinking needs have us hungry to reclaim and evolve the original vision of E.A. Young Academy. We are grateful for those of you who have, even in your first few years here, continue to share a steadfast belief that what we are doing makes a difference in the lives of our scholars.

Fast forward to now. Our school continues to beat the odds. But this is not luck. It is the collective tenacity of those who see the vision. We are, at our heart, a grass-roots organization where every voice matters. Many of you are new to the E.A. Young community. Several of you joined us during remote learning. Many more of you do not know the initial struggles of a fledgling school. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Young Academy trailblazers. We would not be here but for their sacrifices to ensure its future stability and success.


It has been a long hard slog to get here. And we are days away from realizing the dream of a new campus. We are tremendously excited for the next leg of our journey in a new campus that can provide a wealth of opportunities for our scholars. If you have not given already to the capital campaign, consider what would be a meaningful gift from your family.  The time is now.




Ms. Lyda


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