In Honor – Bruce Allen Amos

Bruce passed away a week after graduation, due to complications from a previous medical condition. It is with joy and sadness that we bring you this honorarium for Bruce. Joy that he has gone Home, sadness because we will miss him.

While he did not get the opportunity to go forth in life to accomplish his dream of owning a landscaping company, your sacrificial giving gave his family something precious.

Bruce had dropped out of school in his senior year. Your giving enabled him, at 19, to review the choices he had made with his life. He came to the conclusion that his parents were right and he needed his diploma to achieve his dreams. That is what you gave his family – the opportunity to see Bruce achieve his first goal, his high school graduation. His mother wept tears of joy that day, because she never thought she would get to see him cross a stage and receive his diploma.

When you are visiting our site, and think about waiting to give, remember the final lesson Bruce taught us. God in Heaven gave us this moment, and he didn't promise us tomorrow. Be prepared, and help us prepare others. Thank you again for helping Bruce, his parents and our other children.

Carrie’s Story – Stars on the Stage of Life

During her junior year in high school, Carrie Fox was performing in theatrical plays for elementary aged school children. In order to do these plays, she had to miss some school. Unfortunately, she started getting used to missing class and ended up with too many absences. Carrie had been attending a high school that was outside her assigned zone. As a result of her excessive absences, she lost her transfer to the high school she was attending.

“I already had a poor attitude toward school”, admitted Carrie. “I did not want to attend the high school in my assigned zone. My parents and I started looking for other options and we chose West End Academy. West End was a good experience for me”, said Carrie. “The teachers make an effort to get to know you. They cared about your education and your making it in life. All of the teachers and Mr. D, in particular, could sense when you had a problem that was not school related. They went out of their way to help me out with it. They were able to incorporate real life with school experiences.”

“The students at WEA were close to each other. It was a family environment. There were no clichés. I learned to make friends with kids from all realms of life. I found it to be the same in college. There are all different types of people there too.”

Carrie graduated from WEA as the senior class salutatorian with a 3.1 grade point average. After graduation from WEA, Carrie attended Pellissippi State for one semester. She then transferred to the University of Tennessee and graduated with honors in Communications. “I had no problems in college. It was a great time”, said Carrie. Carrie interned at a local radio station after graduating from UT. She worked her way up to Promotions Director. She then did a stint as a TV show host on the Shopping Channel.

Carrie enrolled in the MBA program at UT. Her future goals are to work in media communications or marketing with a music company or to do product marketing with a food or soft drink producer.

Carrie once performed in theatrical plays. Now she is starring on the stage of life.

Tia’s Story – Scholarship Recipient Graduate

Tia Hammitt came to West End Academy in the second semester of her sophomore year. “At my previous school, I goofed around and it seemed that no one cared,” admitted Tia. “I was tardy a lot and skipped a lot of school. By the mid part of 10th grade, I was not doing well. I was in with the wrong crowd, and there was peer pressure to skip school.” Tia had passed only one course and earned just one credit in that semester.

Knowing that she needed help, Tia and her mom made an appointment with Mr. D. After the interview, Tia felt that West End had a solution to her educational problems.

Tia described West End as the following: “a smaller place where everybody gets along. The staff and teachers cared if I came to school. They always found my mom and told her when I was not at school. I was never afraid to ask for help if I was having problems. I love Mr. D. He always went out of his way to help me. Everyone at West End is almost always happy. It is like a big family. I wanted to come to school because it did not seem like school. When other students asked me to do something that I knew was not right, I told them that I had a clean slate at West End and I did not want to do it. They said nothing. No one thought I was weird. There was no peer pressure.”

Tia is currently working full time at a day care center. She wants to work for a year to pay off some bills and save for school. Her plan is to start at Pellissippi State next fall.

Tia was once swayed by peer pressure. Now she is her own person and following her dreams instead of the crowd.

Rebecca’s Story

"You need to pay attention as much as possible. If you think high school is only fun and games, it won’t pay off."

Rebecca came to West End Academy because she did not have enough credits to graduate from her previous high school. Her friends told her about WEA. She started summer school and continued through graduation. Becky advanced from not having enough credits to graduate to become the class valedictorian.

Becky said she liked her West End experience because “there are not as many students, it is easier because the teachers have more time to spend with you. The credits are split so you can get ½ credits. You can do co-op work. And there are not as many distractions.” Additionally, she commented that “West End was fun and exciting. I met new and interesting people. All of the teachers were really nice and eager to help with anything I needed. You can get free period cards to go on field trips, so it was worth trying to be to school on time.”

Rebecca has completed the fall semester at the University of Tennessee on the scholarship she received for being WEA valedictorian. Her plans are to major in Business Administration with a double minor in Zoology and Communications. Rebecca has learned to pay attention and her future will show it.

Lee’s Story

"Just because you have failed once does not mean you are a failure. Babe Ruth did not make it to where he was overnight. Even though he hit many home runs, he had more strikeouts than homers. He did not give up; nor should you. God never gives up on you, either. I was a hard case to crack. My parents prayed and the Dowlings prayed."

Lee described himself as a “very angry kid who did not like school work. I did not like to pay attention. From the very beginning, I felt like a failure. I never thought I’d make anything of my life.”

Lee came to WEA in the 4th grade. He had been making all D’s in school and had been held back in the 4th grade. His parents were concerned and wanted him to do better. They had heard that WEA would work with young people who were struggling in school. Lee also had a mild learning disability.

From the 4th through the 8th grades, Lee attended WEA. After 8th grade, he attended a local high school for three years. After the first semester of the 12th grade, Lee came back to WEA and graduated from high school. “I was lousy about doing my homework,” Lee said. “So my parents had me come back to get my grades up and to graduate.”

When asked what he most liked about his WEA experience, Lee did not hesitate to say, “Mr. and Mrs. Dowling cared enough to put in the time and dedication to give me a chance. They gave up their time to help me when I did not care. I had lots of anger and rage and they worked with me.”

Lee and his wife of 5 years currently live in Tigard, Oregon. He is employed in armored vehicle work where he transports millions of dollars every day.

Lee could not carry his own load. Now, he is responsible for himself, his family, and the money of hundreds of people every day.

Greg’s Story

"You have to believe in yourself to get anywhere. Here, I had an opportunity to be myself.  My belief in myself rose up with the teachers’ interest in me"

Greg’s high school experience was barely on track. He was in his junior year and passing only two courses Greg West End Academy Testimony and was still in freshman English. His wardrobe of baggy clothes did not impress his teachers. Greg had spent several days in the office and was viewed as a troublemaker. Additionally, as Greg described it: “I was not running around with the best people.

Then an event occurred that would derail Greg’s high school experience. Greg and his friends had been shooting people with squirt guns the previous day. He had left the squirt guns in his car. A passerby reported that there was what appeared to be a real gun in his car, which was parked in the school parking lot. School officials searched his automobile and found that the guns were not real. However, they found a pocketknife that was illegal to bring onto school property. Greg was suspended for 180 days. His parents set up an appointment with Mr. Dowling, and Greg began school at WEA.

When asked about his WEA experience, Greg pointed to several aspects that made a difference with him: “The teachers were not worried about my wardrobe of baggy clothes; rather, they focused their attention on helping me with my school work. They took time to help me, to answer my questions. It was more student teacher instead of teacher-student. Teachers took the time to get to know me.”

Greg pursued a career as an Audio Technician/Engineer at Tennessee Institute of Technology. After graduation and a few years of experience, his dream was to own an audio installation company.

Greg was headed toward a nightmare. Now he is pursuing his dream.

Amanda’s Story

Amanda’s difficulties began in her junior year of high school. She had above average grades in her first two years, and then things began to go wrong. Almost all of her friends dropped out of school. All of a sudden her school became a big lonely place and Amanda started missing days.

Finally, she was called to the office and informed by the guidance counselor that if any more days were missed, she was in jeopardy of being expelled. Amanda and her Dad needed help! A call was made and an appointment was scheduled to meet with Mr. Dowling. As a result, Amanda decided to enroll in WEA. Amanda started the second semester of her junior year at WEA. She made all A’s and B’s, attended summer school, and graduated early. Despite all F’s in her fall semester of 11th grade, she made up all of the F’s and graduated from WEA as co-valedictorian.

When asked what she liked about WEA, Amanda replied, “It’s small, not a big school.” Amanda also confided, “Most of my friends who have dropped out have not done anything with their lives. I did not want to drop out or be a failure. I just got to a point where I did not know what to do.” Amanda enrolled in Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

Amanda was lost, but now she is found, and made a statement at college.