After the Bell: Dallas CAN! Academy

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by CHRIS FLANAGAN

WFAA

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 15 at 4:49 PM

DALLAS - Many people often think of after-school programs only being necessary for younger children, but teens need supervision as well. 

One Dallas teenager credits her after-school program with turning her life around and giving her a second chance.

Shree Haywood loves cheering. She hasn't always loved school, though. 

"If I stayed out late, then I didn't want to wake up in the morning," the 16-year-old said. "And, if I didn't wake up in the morning, then what's the point of going? I'm late anyway. What's the point of going? I'll stay at home."

Shree has had issues with skipping school, hanging out with the wrong crowd and she was arrested several times. But, things changed after attending Dallas CAN! Academy and its Jump Start to SUCCESS after school program, which she has been a part of for over two years.

Cheerleading has helped keep Shree off the streets. She gives much of the credit to her cheerleading coach April Washington. 

"Words cannot express how proud I am of Shree Haywood," Washington said. "When I first received her, a lot of people were like, 'Wow, you have your hands full,' and a couple of other girls. But, Shree is an amazing young lady. It was hard work, but I'm so well rewarded,."

That hard work has paid off. Shree is now flourishing at CAN! Academy, getting all As and Bs. She gets choked up talking about her mentor and her message. 

"'Can't' cannot be in a woman's vocabulary," she said. "School work comes before performance."

Shree is attending class regularly and is on target to graduate. She hopes to join the Naitonal Guard and then someday open her own law firm.

Dallas and Fort Worth CAN! Academies have six public tuition-free charter high schools with open enrollment in Dallas and Fort Worth. The schools provide a second chance for at-risk youth to complete their high school education.

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