Finding their path

Abigail S. Fisher

Sophomore Kassondra Spangler, 15, listens to a short story in her 10th grade English class. Spangler also competes with the Theodore Roosevelt High School track team. Abigail S. Fisher | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

LOOK at photos of the Bridges Academy from Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Each weekday morning around 7:40 a.m., 66 ninth and tenth graders begin to mill through the hallways of Central School on North Mantua Street.

The high school underclassmen are all here for the Bridges Academy, a branch of Theodore Roosevelt High School designed for students who are at-risk academically or socially or simply work better in smaller learning environments.

Bridges, as it is known by the teachers and students, is a self-pace program where the focus of many classes is team-building projects and fostering healthy relationships with classmates and faculty members.

Freshman Kaeleana McCoy, 14, came to Bridges after a friend told her about the program.

“It’s fun — you go on field trips, and the teachers support you and are there for you,” she said.

The students spend their first four periods at Bridges taking math, English, science and life skills classes and then are bussed back to Theodore Roosevelt for the afternoon. One of the struggles many students at Bridges face is the stigma associated with coming to an alternative proactive high school.

“There are a lot of smart people here,” said freshman Jordan Breiding, 15. “It’s more like a big family. You can be yourself here.”

Photo story by Abigail S. Fisher at [email protected].