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Made in SA – The Advanced Learning Academy


As schools across the CAST Network prepare for upcoming graduations, the Advanced Learning Academy (ALA)’s goodbyes are a bit more personal. Because the Advanced Learning Academy is a K-12 school with 2 different campuses, for some students this is the only school they have ever known. These teachers have seen their students grow up in front of their very eyes, and looking beyond the school can be intimidating. Seniors Leon, Luz, and Aiden reflected on this along with their final year at the ALA.


For Luz, ALA is all she has known. Having attended ALA for almost 8 years, she has watched her classmates grow up alongside her. The same goes for Leon, who recognizes that it may be a bit awkward starting school somewhere else next year. Aiden felt the same way, but he said that he is open to the new culture that is waiting for him at college. As they prepare to graduate next week, each senior will be graduating with a wide array of experiences under their belts. Leon, an officer in the Thespian Honor Society, currently works with the SA Playhouse, and he recently held an internship with the Magik Theatre. Luz is a member of the SAISD Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, where she advocates for better infrastructure/mental health services for her school. She interned with Science Mill, where she taught science to young kids as a Teaching Assistant.


After he graduates, Aiden plans to study Linguistics at Rice University. Aiden, a recipient of the QuestBridge Scholarship, will attend Rice University on a full ride. Leon plans to study theater at Texas State as he gains more experience/knowledge working behind the scenes, and Luz will enjoy a full ride to UTSA, where she plans to double major in Political Science and English.


Attending college can be a new and exciting opportunity for students, but the change in scenery can also be seen as intimidating to new students. At ALA, the seniors offered some advice. To Leon, it’s important that students make connections outside of the classroom, as it will help students’ sense of identity. For Luz, she urges younger students to be themselves, despite whatever setbacks they may encounter. And finally for Aiden, he emphasized for younger students not to force things, but let them happen. Regardless of what may or may not happen, everything will be okay.


About the Advanced Learning Academy

The Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) lifts the ceiling on learning for all members of the educational community. ALA provides 21st-century opportunities within a caring and open community and fosters a depth of thinking, problem-solving, creative design, and real-world applications. Students develop deep content knowledge and cutting-edge learning skills to prepare them for any and all futures they can envision. The curriculum at ALA relies heavily on Project-Based Learning, which is an approach to education that emphasizes learning through creating. Projects aren’t just replacements for tests, they’re real-world creations that start their development at the very beginning of a new unit of content.


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The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.