New outlook

Raleigh school for children with learning disabilities gets new name, look.

By Jennifer Whytock

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Achievement School in Raleigh is changing its name to The Fletcher Academy, A School of Achievement, reflecting the school’s support by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.

“The students are so excited about the new name,” says Junell Blaylock, headmaster. “Students had thought the old name was negative, because they thought they couldn’t achieve. And with students with learning disabilities, they have already taken a lot of hits in life. They didn’t need to feel bad about their school’s name, too.”

Students from grades one to 12 recently participated in a contest to name and design a new school mascot, and “Fletch”, a falcon, was chosen.

The new falcon will be painted on the wall of the newly-refurbished school gymnasium, which volunteers from The Healing Place of Wake County helped paint in the school’s new burgundy and white colors.

Also supported by the Raleigh-based A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal, The Healing Place provides rescue, recovery and rehabilitation services for homeless people with alcohol and drug addictions.

The nonprofit brings men off the streets, takes them through a sobering-up program, teaches them life and workplace skills, and helps them find a job and a home.

Over 50 men volunteered to paint the school’s gym one Saturday in November, and they ended up also painting the locker room, bathrooms, and a room that will be used as an art studio.

“When the kids saw it, they thought it looked wonderful, and said they want to protect it and make sure it wouldn’t get messed up,” says Blaylock. “You don’t usually hear teenagers talking like that, but they really felt a sense of pride in their school.”

A group of students soon will visit The Healing Place with a poster signed by all students, thanking the men for their hard work, and Blaylock has offered Healing Place residents use of the school’s gym on weekends.

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