Read what people are saying about MHA....
"MHA is a truly unique and much needed educational environment that provides a conducive atmosphere for each student's individualized learning style. The student's strengths and needs serve as the foundation of instruction for their personal road map to success. Students and teachers develop best practices to ensure the student's academic growth and customized internships. It is very satisfying to participate in such a proactive and valuable process for growth and development." - Patty Pascucelli, Teacher/Reading Specialist, Merrimac Heights Academy.
"I enjoy my internships, they are so much fun. So far I have worked at Stepping Stones Preschool and the Service Dog Project. I also got to volunteer for the Merrimac Senior Center last year. These internships will help me to get a paying job when I am done with school." - YW/Student, Merrimac Heights Academy.
"Yeanna has been an amazing addition to the volunteer team at Service Dog Project. Her attention to detail and care for our horses and donkeys is extraordinary. Her enthusiasm and pure joy are contagious, and we are thrilled to have her and Mrs. Hale every Friday to help muck the stalls. Often volunteers come for the dogs, so it so special to have Yeanna come and specifically care for the equine." - K.W. Staff/Dog Trainer - Service Dog Project.
The following testimonial is the speech given by parent, Suzanne Ward at MHA's Ribbon Cutting Celebration held on January 22, 2016....
"My name is Suzanne Ward and my son, Jack, is a student here at Merrimac Heights Academy. It's great to see so many faces of people who are interested in this very special school and I am happy to share our experience.
Frustrated, worried, fearful, hopeless and abandoned. This was the despair my husband I felt last summer as we searched for an appropriate school to educate our son. We, like most parents, do our best to raise our children to be responsible adults who contribute to their community and live happy and healthy lives. We have three children, and admit to feeling fearful and frustrated (at some point) for each of our children. Four our other two typically developing children, these feelings come and go rather quickly and tend to be short lived. For our son Jack, however, social, emotional and learning challenges make his journey much more arduous and keep us, as a family, constantly vigilant and anxious.
Then in September, we found Merrimac Heights Academy. Merrimac Heights Academy has been an answer to our prayers. Here, we have watched our son flourish and grow in ways we could not have imagined. Just last year, it seemed Jack was starting to give up. Getting him off to school each day felt like climbing Mount Everest. Academically, his learning disabilities made his day far more difficult. He was exhausted after school and had little motivation to connect socially. He would have frequent emotional breakdowns, and fell far behind his peers in self-motivation, communication and independence. As a teen approaching adulthood, we feared he would not be able to live a productive life.
The individualized program here is unique, real and effective. Merrimac Heights Academy is teaching our son to understand his challenges and limitations while at the same time helping him to celebrate his strengths. This has given him confidence, self-esteem and home. Since coming here, Jack now gets himself up each morning, dresses, gets his own breakfast and is ready to leave on time. In the evening, he takes a shower, (mostly without being asked). These tasks, which came so naturally to our other children, are big accomplishments for him and a huge relief for us. Jack smiles more, engages more. Jack now enjoys sharing his music, his art and his sense of humor. This fall, he enjoyed his internship with an arborist where he developed a sense of his own capabilities and interests. He is increasing his awareness of who he is and what he wants to do with his life. He is working on how to accomplish his goals. Last summer he had no goals, let alone a desire to do much more than sit at home and play video games.
In addition to the individualized program which is giving our son a sense of empowerment, hope and a desire to achieve, Merrimac Heights Academy has provided our son a learning environment that is unique. The homelike and pastoral setting allows him to process his day in a way that realistic and practical. Jack fatigues easily, and this school is easy for him to manage. There are places for him to rest and recharge. He is able to make his own lunch and sit in a quiet, homelike setting, and converse with the other students and teachers. His prior educational experience required him to follow timelines, rules and protocols that were often incompatible with his learning style and gave him no choices. He never developed a sense of what works best for him, and what he actually likes doing versus what he was supposed to do. Merrimac Heights is teaching him to understand himself and empowering him to move forward at a pace that is attainable for him.
Thank you, Dr. Soares, for having the vision, strength and dogged persistence, to open this school and fill the gap for kids like my son. Every child deserves the opportunity to celebrate their unique gifts and have the chance for a brighter future. Congratulations! It will be so exciting to watch Merrimac Heights Academy grow and serve our children and our community."