Stories and insights on excellent education.
Keeping up with Keagan! A Day in the Life of a Success Academy Scholar
Success Academy – December 18, 2018
Even though Keagan Whitehurst-Nicks is still learning and growing — after all, he’s only in fourth grade — there are a few things that he’s absolutely certain about. The first is that he will one day host his own talk show, titled Keeping up with Keagan. Secondly, his favorite subjects are theater and math. Third, there is always something to laugh about!
Keagan is a scholar at SA Williamsburg, where he’s found a community that appreciates his outgoing personality and quirky sense of humor. On any given day, Keagan finds plenty of material for his future talk show; he’s discovered talent on the stage and on the basketball court, as well as a seemingly endless curiosity in the science lab.
We were lucky enough to join Keagan for a day at school, and saw firsthand just how much this determined scholar can accomplish when he sets his mind to it.
I wake up early to get to school in time, and I like to listen to The Greatest Showman soundtrack and to Drake when I get dressed in the morning. We live in Williamsburg, close to the school, so my mom usually takes me, but I went with my friend and his dad this morning.
Ms. Levy, my principal, is always waiting outside to say hello. She shakes my hand every morning! It makes me feel great when she gives me encouragement.
My classroom is called UPenn — that’s where my teacher, Ms. Saez, went to college. My classmates and I are known as the class of 2027 here at Success Academy because that’s when we will graduate from college.
When I come to the classroom in the morning, I give my reading log to Ms. Saez and put my homework in the bin. After I sit down, I start my morning work, which is a chance to practice what we learned the day before. Usually I get all the questions right. Sometimes I get one question wrong, maybe two but usually just one.
In Ms. Saez’s UPenn class, we have special leis with different meanings. The light blue lei is for getting 100 percent on your homework. Ms. Saez helps each of us set goals and work to reach them so that we get better and better each day. I like it when I reach one of my goals because then we celebrate!
Math is one of my favorite subjects. In Math Workshop, we’re learning how to decompose hard numbers using rows and columns. Basically, you take big numbers and break them down into friendlier numbers so you can easily do equations.
Writing is actually a big part of my day because we write in all of our classes. I learn how to share my main idea and to put in good examples to support it.
In Guided Reading, we’re reading books together that teach us about the muscles in our body and how they help us sit, stand, run, and jump. But we’re also learning how to think carefully about what we’re reading. My reading goal is to slow down and pronounce each syllable of a word I don’t know. When I’m reading out loud, I sometimes speed through the words I don’t know how to pronounce. Today I got stuck on “Achilles” while we were reading. But I get stuck less often than I used to!
We get lunch at school every day, then we go outside for recess and I get to run around with my friends. Today, it’s been raining all day, and we are stuck inside. I love playing sports. My favorite is basketball. I’ll play basketball every day even if it’s raining outside.
Starting in third grade, we get to pick two electives to study for the whole year! There’s music, dance, sports, chess, and more. This year, I’m taking music and theater. Today in our music elective, we played an old folk song on the xylophone called “Captain, Go Sidetrack Your Train.”
I love musical theater. I’m basically a thespian. We meet every Wednesday to rehearse. Our production this semester is You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and I have the lead role! We perform the show for all our friends and families in the auditorium.
The floor is comfier than it looks. We make sure to take some time every day to read books we’ve picked from the library in our classroom. There are hundreds of books in the library, and they are all organized so that we can easily find topics that interest us and that challenge us. You can book shop by your reading level or try for the level above, or ask your teacher to recommend something interesting. I can pick anything from Harry Potter to historical fiction to poetry!
I love that we have science EVERY DAY! We do so many experiments. Right now we’re learning about the Earth’s movements and its revolutions. It’s interesting because we’re seeing how shadows move — we use a flashlight and pretend that it’s the sun!
Today after school, my mom is going to pick me up. It usually takes me 45 minutes to do all my homework. I work on vocab, spelling practice, and No Hesitation Math. When all my homework is done, I’ll play my Xbox.
Usually I’ll go home with my babysitter. I don’t like having a babysitter. I’m too mature for one.