A Wonderland of Skills at Monarch Academy
Laura Anne Brewster is a big deal.
"I'm the main writer of the newsletter,” she said. “You're looking at the one who writes the main article. The one that makes it happen."
For 23-year-old Brewster and her 30 classmates, Monarch Academy has been a real hit. The school teaches children ages 12 to 24 with mild to moderate cognitive disabilities.
Students learn functional academics, life skills and even have access to Morgan's Wonderland as part of their gym class.
"It's a very expensive education to deliver,” Monarch Academy’s Anne Bristol said. “The best education to deliver, but it's expensive."
Standard tuition sits at just more than $14,000 a year, which is why school officials are excited about the Texas Education Agency’s approval.
"That opens the doors for more children to have this kind of education – whose families really, really want it, but even if we could give them the maximum financial aid, which is half tuition, they still couldn't afford that,” Bristol said.
Art and karate are certainly class favorites, but students are also learning real world skills that can help them with their future.
The Bridge Program for older students gets students ready to work. Several have already found jobs.
"I'm doing job sites and working out in the community and working and going out to find job sites,” student Dillon Hornsein said.
Between learning vocational skills and helping at the food bank, the students have a better chance to grow.
"One universal goal for every family who is here is that their child would have some sort of independent life – again, whatever that looks like for that child – and that they would have some sort of employment or volunteer opportunity, a reason to get up in the morning,” Bristol said.
Students accepted to the school through Texas Education Agency approval are contracted on a yearly basis through Monarch Academy and their respective school districts.
Next Friday, Morgan's Wonderland will open its own doors for the sixth season.