Back On Track: Nashville Student Focuses On Graduation at Non-Traditional Academy at Old Cockrill


Ben. Credit: Nashville Public Television.

Photo of Ben. Credit: Nashville Public Television.

Dealing with Chronic illness is just one of the issues students can face during school. The resulting stress, absences and falling behind can sometimes make dropping out an attractive option. For our series “Back on Track,” Nashville Public Television tells us about Ben, a young man who faces struggles, but is determined to graduate from The Academy at Old Cockrill.

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Ben, a senior at The Academy at Old Cockrill in Nashville, battles a chronic illness – epilepsy. He’s also battled the temptation to drop out of school.

“I was an honors student up until around sophomore year. I started missing a lot of school because with my epilepsy, I couldn’t go if I had a seizure or something,” he says.

Not going to school became a habit, and Ben began falling behind in his classes, he says.

He landed at Old Cockrill, a Nashville school designed for students who need flexibility to get their degree.

“It’s really different. The classes are about two and a half hours. That gives me more time to focus,” he says. What’s even better, Ben says there’s less stress for him now in school, and that’s better for his medical condition.

“It was important for me knowing that I do have a second chance,” he says. “I can succeed. I’m not a failure.”

This report was produced by the Southern Education Desk as part of our series, “Back On Track.” It is supported by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in observance of American Graduate Day on Saturday, October 3.

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