I'm writing this letter on behalf of my alma mater. I attended Choctaw Ridge Academy several years ago, and personally feel that the program, staff and environment directly helped turn me into the person I am today.
Being able to call group when I didn't see eye to eye with someone was the staple the really held it together for me. Even when it was a topic that might be controversial elsewhere, if I or anyone else seriously got offended, we got to work it out, on the spot.
The lessons I learned weren't apparent to me until later. This school offers more than any therapist could and I now live medication free. Working as a mason in Doylestown, I am happy and very well adjusted. I credit this school with helping me through tough times; I don't know what I would've done without them.
I was involved with a lot of stuff that could have gotten me into a lot of trouble when I was in high school, and I feel that if it wasn't for going to Choctaw Ridge Academy and having teachers
like Matt and the other staff to go and talk to whenever I had a problem, then without a doubt in my mind I would seriously be dead or in jail.
I liked going to school because it kept me off the streets for 8 hrs a day and I would actually stay, I never liked public school so I would just leave 3 days a week and get myself into trouble.
Choctaw really does make a difference to kids like me. I went to other alternative schools and if you mess up, they just disciplined you; Choctaw works with you and finds out why you did what you did and helps you fix the problem instead of just yelling at you. Closing down Choctaw would really affect a lot of kid's life in a very negative way.
I apologize for not doing this sooner. It has been on my "to do" list for quite some time, but I've been putting it off, tormenting about what I could possibly say to appropriately express my gratitude to you and the staff at Choctaw.
Prior to coming to Choctaw, we were very concerned with Mike's development, both as a student and a developing adult. He had always been somewhat introverted which made learning in the large campus environment of his previous high schools quite difficult. Asking for help was never easy for him, and not getting the appropriate level of assistance, even when he did ask, was extremely frustrating for all of us. He would try to ask for help, but either there wouldn't be the appropriate staff to provide assistance, or they were already swamped with others asking for help so Mike would give up and deal with not knowing the subject material. We would blame Mike for not trying hard enough to get the help he needed which only made him more withdrawn. Meetings with teachers and guidance staff did not seem to make much of a difference, not for lack of effort, but the relationship just didn't seem to fit. The responsibility would always seemed to come back to us with suggestions of perhaps we should engage a private counselor, or hire a tutor for subjects we are having difficulty with.
One of Mike's friends was enrolled at Choctaw, and based on comments from him and his parents this seemed to be the solution we were hoping for.
Finally my wife went to the guidance staff and pleaded our case to have Mike considered for placement at Choctaw. We were of course given the run around... " Mike doesn't qualify for Choctaw. He would have to go to another alternative school." "There is no way we can make that happen at this point."
After speaking with Matt, and finally having an advocate on our side, he made some phone calls, waved his hands, spoke the magic words, and abracadabra! The transfer was in the works. Almost immediately, we saw a substantial change in our relationship with our son and his relationship with school. Learning seemed fun, or something! Out of nowhere Mike would start participating in conversations we would be having about topical issues, occasionally dropping a tidbit of knowledge he remembered from a class he was taking. After the shock of the first few times that happened, it was so nice to see that we could have NORMAL conversations with our son after all. Finally!
Within just a few months, we noticed dramatic changes. He seemed to no longer be a shy, lonely, sad teenager, but an engaged young adult with a purpose. Suddenly school was a topic of conversation....and it was a good conversation! "Matt this", "Barb that", "we went here", "we did this today, and had a blast".
We just can't thank you and your staff enough for the enormous impact you had on our lives. The guidance and inspiration you all provided, at a time when we were just about to lose hope of ever reaching our son, has made such a positive impact, words really don't do our appreciation justice.
It has been a few years now since Mike has graduated. He works full time, and has since enrolled in Bucks County Community College taking music and music ed courses, and has been doing quite well. You have given him a confidence that he carries with him to this day. He is a strong young man with a very bright future. We are so proud of the person he has become and thank you all for being there when we needed you, and having a program which enables young people like Mike to find a way to reach their potential.
Thank you so very much, Bill H.
"Hello Everyone! I was just writing to tell you how much I miss Choctaw. I know that it was just a stepping stone to life, but I can't help but miss your warm and caring atmosphere. I have been living in Seattle, WA for three years now. I was reading up on the school (nice website, by the way!) and I feel like it has really made a positive impact on my life. Just when I had given up on adults in general, you guys came along... Thanks for everything, and I hope to come visit again one day..."
The Language of Power works. Read what kids
said about their involvement in the program:
"I came from a situation where my teenage son and I were constantly butting heads and at odds and I found that neither one of us were very successful in finding a happy home life. So I was really looking for support and some input from other parents as well as a better way to communicate with him. And what I found was this method that certainly took a more positive approach and it diffused the anger and focused on really trying to communicate and not on the emotions." ~ Carol
"We just can't thank you and your staff enough for the enormous impact you had on our lives. The guidance and inspiration you all provided, at a time when we were just about to lose hope of ever reaching our son, has made such a positive impact, words really don't do our appreciation justice." ~ Bill
A Program To Help You Deal Effectively with Teen Problems
Choctaw Ridge Academy was the first and only alternative school for disruptive teenagers to operate as a Therapeutic Community (TC). Based in Doylestown, PA, it was founded and operated by the author of the Language of Power Program from 1996 until 2009. The reviews on this page are from students and parents who were actively involved in the Academy.