Catarina arrived at Morgridge Academy in a wheelchair. Her mother hoped the school’s special care and education style would help Catarina work through the self-esteem issues that sometimes caused her to be difficult in class.
They placed her in the lowest-ability classes in seventh grade – a level that her mom admitted might even be too high.
The Morgridge Academy staff began to do what they do with each student – they worked with Catarina individually to find out what she needed in order to succeed.
Because of Morgridge Academy’s small class sizes, Catarina’s teacher was able to spend time with her individually each day, and staff from National Jewish Health’s rehabilitation department supported Catarina’s intensive physical therapy needs.
Catarina also benefited from other Morgridge Academy services. As a single mom who struggles with her finances, Catarina’s mother was thrilled to know her child was receiving healthy meals twice a day.
Today, Catarina is a different girl. She graduated from the second highest ability group in her eighth grade class, learned to walk – first with hand crutches and then independently, and could swim 20 laps in the Morgridge Academy’s Magazine Gymnasium pool in 20 minutes without taking a break. She has joined Denver’s top charter high school where she’ll continue her pursuit of a career in biochemistry.
Tiauna Rivers' Story
I came from an underprivileged home; I grew up in a household with just my mother and me. I was very sick with asthma, and was hospitalized a lot. When I got sick, my mother was always there for me. She sometimes lost a job because of my illness. One day, someone told her about the Morgridge Academy on the campus of National Jewish Health. My mom signed me up.
I was a student in the Morgridge Academy from 1992 until 2000, kindergarten through seventh grade. They helped me learn to manage my asthma, and during that time I saw several doctors from National Jewish Health.
The teachers at Morgridge Academy kept me focused on academics. They always talked about higher education—my family did, too—and now I am a student at Community College of Aurora.
What would have happened to me without the Morgridge Academy? I probably would have spent a lot more time in hospitals. While some of my friends are in in college, some aren't. I have friends who now have kids of their own. Some of them—even people with asthma—smoke cigarettes and weed. Some of them are working. I will graduate in May, 2009 with an Associates Degree in Business.
The Morgridge Academy changed my life.