ACE valedictorian beats the odds

admin | 9/10/2011, 3:21 p.m.

Last week, Academy for Community Education (ACE) held its graduation at Horace Mann Middle School in El Portal. Dorothy Williams, 18, was the class valedictorian. I feel that this was very hard to achieve but I did it, she said. It is a great honor because I never thought that I would be here, but Im here now. Although Williams has seen success at ACE, she admits that she did not always enjoy her time there. At first I did not thinkI was going to survive at this school, but as time flew by it began to be like a regular high school, she said. The school was small, like 80 students and I was use to going to a school with more than 500 students. When I met the teachers they were mean, but things changed. I began to get along with teachers and my classmates were cool, it began to be a fun school to attend. Williams did not attend ACE all four years of high school. As a freshman, she attended Coral Gables Senior High School but transferred to ACE because of her poor attendance record. Williams is the ninth out of her mothers 10 children. She said that she used her siblings as motivation for academic success. All of my brothers and sisters before me have graduated with their diplomas, she said. All of them have inspired me by telling me to keep going to school and not to drop out. All ofthem pushed me to keep going to school. The only one that has not graduated is my little brother and that is because he is only 10-years-old. My big brothers and sisters have been a great help to me. Her family was not the only factor that contributed to her success. She said her teachers helped to guide her as well. Some of them had more hope in me than I have had for myself, she said. Sometimes I would doubt myself saying that I could not do something because it was too hard but my teachers, basically all the teachers, helped me. They would say keep going, dont give up, youre going to make it. Everyone there was very helpful, at ACE academy teachers really show you attention. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com