Friday, November 25, 2016


School should be filled with ENRICHING Experiences !

What makes a life well-lived?  When you look at the various options for education , careers, spiritual and family-life experiences, what one thing brings it all together, makes it rich and memorable to those who partake?  Any college will tell you when they sell you on "campus life" that it isn't just about how much education you can get, its about what experiences will you be exposed to that will allow you to broaden your horizons, build your contacts, make your memories.  After all, looking back years from now, that's the part that made life worth living.

 Here at The Chase Academy, we work hard to try and find experiences that not only enrich your child's academic day, but also build his/ her social skills, and perhaps give them a glimpse at some area of the community where they could invest themselves as a volunteer or maybe as a future career.  
   We believe by broadening your child's experiences, your child will be better prepared, more aware and as comparably diverse as their public school peers.  Each activity we plan brings something to your child they haven't had before ~ each activity chosen with such deliberation that one year at The Chase Academy is a year your child won't soon forget.
 Here's a look at the fun-filled Fall we've had so far:


Grandparents Day: Kindergarten - 5th grade Classes

We started our year with Grandparents' Day.  On this day we invited the grandparents of children in Kindergarten through Fifth grade, to see our facility, meet our faculty, and attend a brief presentation on children with autism.  For many of these grandparents, this is the first time a professional had taken the time to explain to them what autism is and what it may look like in their grand-child.  Afterwards, everyone shared lunch, cookies and lemonade at our Grandparents luncheon.
This brings the next generation into the fold.  It shows the children that its important that your "village" understand you and your needs so that the best decisions on how to raise you can be made.  Having a village is fundamental to children AND adults on the spectrum.

DeLeon Springs - FAMILY DAY PICNIC 2016

Our first whole group "Family Day" gathering.  Always a success, the picnic at Deleon Springs is an annual event that all families look forward to.  We swim, cook hot dogs and hamburgers, eat together, get to know one another and perhaps, swim some more!  Friendships are established here, not just between kids, but between families.  Having an extended support system, building friends among those who understand you is another important facet of growing up happy and healthy.  Moreover, its a skill these children will need as an adult if they are to continue having fulfilling and rich relationships with those around them.

This year we filled the whole pavilion with our picnic!

 Junior & High School Bowling

Scheduled for the first week of school, this field trip is an opportunity for teen age peers to become friends!  What we have here is a combination of last year's students and this year's newbies!  It also combined the new Junior High class of 12 students with the five students in High School.  Grades 6th -10th attended this event, and navigated their way through a day of bowling and new room of students.

October 2016


Founder Sherri Wentworth brought her educational program into the school in October as our first guest presenter this year.  We welcomed Sherri and learned about her commitment to saving our native wildlife, often from the humans who inhabit their environment.  We also learned about the sacrifice and expense of putting all your efforts into a cause in which you believe deeply.  

Founder/Owner Sherri presents her Barred Owl to the whole school

So in support of Sherri's efforts (and because I know what its like to do the work no one else will and  have others watch but not give what they can), we started our BIRTHDAY program.  For this academic year, $25.00 per child will be donated each month, on the child's birthday month.  Sometimes we donate $100.00 and sometimes only $25.00, but always we support Sherri's efforts and send our financial support so she can keep doing the work WE find valuable


This was our second annual CHASE and the Brews event.  This year's event was held in Port Orange this year at Tomoka Brewery!  We were so fortunate to find three gentlemen volunteers to work their NETWORK and bring in tips for our cause.  Our winning bartender Tom Caffrey and his company Realty Pros Assured raised $795.00 on his own, ($250 donated by the Realty Agency!), while Volusia County Blues Founder Mike Gallucci raised over $350.00 and our last bartender Steve Sather raised almost $100.00 just by "working the crowd."  

Tom Caffrey (Dressed as a Rock Star) with the rest of the team at Realty Pros Assured!

Mike Gallucci pouring for tips

Parent Shelly Vincent and Steve Sather


Each year, we dress up on Halloween and Trick-or-Treat in our mall!  Our retail neighbors are always prepared and full of support for our students.  This event introduces our "typical" neighbors to our children, who quickly learn that our children, like all children, only want to make friends and have fun!

 No matter their age, our children love this holiday, and the people in our mall LOVE to participate each year. We all look forward to establishing our neighborhood for the school year!


Another annual event is the corn maze, celebrated this year at DeLeon Springs' Vo-LaSalle Farms!  Students learned about hydroponic farming, about the various types of fruits and veggies grown at this "pick-your-own" farm before taking the hayride to visit baby piglets and nanny goats; finally settling in the hay-bale maze, the corn crib and various water games.  Lastly, we roasted hot dogs for lunch and marshmallows for some'mores afterwards!  Better than a camping trip, this was a student-friendly look at an entire culture not usually experienced by our children.

Guides led us through the covered hot houses that allow limited sunlight to plants that need it.  Ms. April class poses in front of the games area and Mrs. Genoveva helps Derrius roast hot dogs.


Taking the chance to share the democratic process with our children, we created a student voting booth and let all kids have a chance at the process ~

Mrs. Genaveva's class become registered voters!
High Schoolers register and vote too!
Allie & Mako fill out their registration cards
I bet you wonder who won?   In our election - students voted only - Hillary Clinton was our choice for President.  We will never know what could have been, but because we are a democracy, our students were gracious (most of the time) about having Donald Trump take over the seat of President of the United States.  Democracy in action - that's what we're teaching!  That way, everyone is a winner!


Most of our families remember Charisa and her mother Autumn who painted our sensory room with a wonderful mural, that was never finished.  Its been sitting incomplete for the four years we've been in the Sunshine Mall.  That is until, parent Shelly Vincent helped us contact Kathy Kurke and the ladies of the Daytona Art League.  Taking several Saturdays this fall, the ladies updated and completed this wonderful mural, making our Sensory space truly a welcoming environment for the kids.

Students LOVE this rhinoceros in her Tutu!  The leopard was drawn by former student Nina and left there by the other artists out of respect!

Pink Elephant on Parade!
Artists update the rainbow with flowers, butterflies, honey bees and rabbits!

In an incredible blend of old meets new, these volunteer artists honor the work of the former artists while adding their own unique touch to our mural.  Thanks ladies!!


This year's Family Thanksgiving Feast was held at Duff's ~ thanks to the creative thinking of parent Barbara Sprague and the quick action of our Programming and Community Involvement (are you a member yet?) who voted unanimously to put this new plan into action, despite my reservations about changing the plan for a third time.   They were right!  We had a RECORD number attend - over 100 family and friends joined together for a wonderful luncheon.

Here we are!  For better or worse, we've created a Chase Academy family and an active community that helps our children get involved and find their place in our bigger community, Volusia County!

Next up....  

PORT ORANGE CHRISTMAS PARADE...December 4th, see you there!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment