While his mom remembers missed developmental milestones like walking and talking, then making appointments for physical, occupational and speech therapy as early as age three, Jacob recalls becoming aware of his ADHD in the second grade.
He struggled with basic mathematics concepts throughout school. His typical A’s and B’s in English and history weren’t able to make up for the low marks in math classes, bringing his cumulative high school GPA to 2.9. According to Jacob’s mom, he has never been able to process basic mathematics concepts. To help him achieve the basic math proficiency scores required on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), she hired tutors; after two failed attempts, Jacob finally graduated with a standard diploma.
He struggled with self-esteem throughout middle and high school, in part due to his learning differences but also because of a slight speech impediment. Jacob’s family encouraged his social development by enrolling him in Boy Scouts, getting him involved in local nonprofits and encouraging him to try out for the swim team. Despite their efforts, Jacob remembers being “the dorky kid in the front row.” He was bullied by his peers and in high school had only a few friends.
Jacob began college studies at Florida State College in Jacksonville, but he found the teaching styles confusing and he stumbled with the workload requirements, especially in his non-credit Developmental Mathematics course and a First Responders course. Of the four classes he attempted, ironically the only course he passed was a non-credit College Success class.
Jacob was raised in a household where not going to college wasn’t an option. At the state college where she works, Jacob’s mother sees only a 37 percent graduation rate. She believes many of the students at her school would benefit if the “Beacon model” was incorporated into their teaching and learning support departments.
Jacob’s academic profile fits a successful Beacon student: smart, hardworking and conscientious. However, his very real struggles with mathematics and executive functioning made obtaining a college degree at a traditional college impossible. When they first heard about Beacon College through his mother’s co-worker, Jacob and his family were intrigued by the mission and decided to take a tour. When he arrived, he says Beacon “felt like home. When I learned about the structured support services and comprehensive academic environment, I knew I’d found what I needed.”
Jacob is doing well academically at Beacon with a B+ average. When he graduates with a B.A. in human services in May 2018, he wants to explore career opportunities in forensic psychology or possibly join the military.