Celebrating 25 Years of Student Success:
The Story of Brandon Gray, Class of 2005
Twenty-five years ago, young Brandon Gray was struggling in school.
“I really couldn’t read on my own. I paid attention when others read aloud – I memorized their words – and when it was my turn, I just pretended I could read.”
When neighbors told his mother, Deborah, about the mission of the brand-new Oaks Academy to know and love students, she enrolled Brandon in its first year.
From the start, Oaks faculty recognized Brandon’s intelligence and determination as well as his educational gaps. The Oaks academic team partnered with Deborah to create a plan to bring Brandon’s abilities up to his potential.
One memorable solution was Mrs. Boswell volunteering to tutor Brandon over summer break. The two worked diligently to get Brandon reading at grade level. By the end of summer, they met their goal – and then surpassed it!
While his academic gains were significant, Deborah was more impacted by how Brandon was known and loved as a whole person. “They cared about their students,” she recalled. “When they care so much, the teachers work side by side with the parents and the student.”
As he reflects on his journey 25 years later, Brandon is grateful for The Oaks’ profound influence on his personal and spiritual growth. Once a young child who struggled to read, Brandon has served as a licensed minister and is currently pursuing a social work degree while he works at a local non-profit organization.
“Without a doubt, I would not be where I am today without The Oaks. Being around adults who really knew me, who saw how I was struggling and wanted to help me, changed me as a student and as a person.”
As we celebrate 25 years of student success, Brandon’s story is just one of 747 examples of the beautiful, lasting impact The Oaks has had on our alumni. We will continue to further our mission and send out alumni who deeply love learning and are spiritually, socially, and emotionally mature.