Principal, Teachers Surprise R.E.A.L Academy Students With Parade

Skyla Luckey

LAKELAND, FL —Elementary students from R.E.A.L (Reaching Every Adolescent Learner) Academy got a surprise Wednesday morning when their teachers and principal showed up at their homes and gave them their passing certificate, along with balloons, cake and congratulatory posters.

R.E.A.L. Academy serves at-risk students who need help catching up academically to their peers through a variety of accelerated learning programs. Elementary teacher Michelle Montero organized the event.

"We're here today to celebrate my students — I have 10 of them who have completed the program," said Montero. "They have worked so hard this year to get caught up. From anywhere from fourth to fifth grade, and they are now going into the seventh grade. They worked their butts off all year, and we are celebrating them today with this wonderful parade."

A line of cars stopped in front of each student's house to be part of the celebration and show their support to the students as staff joined their family members in congratulating them. A lot of cheers were given for their accomplishments. Signs that read, "We Are So Proud Of You," "You Did It," and "Real Academy Elementary Superstars" were held outside some cars in the parade. There was also a school board member who participated in the celebration.

One of the students got excited when he noticed the car line and pointed out how far it went back when he said, "It's all the way down there!" His mom and family were proud of him.

"These kids have encountered and faced some obstacles along the way, and they've worked hard to overcome those obstacles to keep moving forward with their education," said principal John Wilson. "And we're certainly proud of what they've done—what they've accomplished. And we're appreciative of Ms. Montero, their teacher—what she's done to help them out."

These students continued to work hard during times of uncertainty and also while adjusting to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Congratulations to all the students at R.E.A.L Academy for their completion!

This article originally appeared on the Lakeland Patch