Class helping students achieve SAT score goals

Published 7:45 pm Monday, October 14, 2019

A group of high school students gathered on Saturday to be part of the Greater Achievement Youth Empowerment Academy, a mix of scholarship and friendly competition. 

Each has a goal in mind, but their overall goal is to score 1000 or more on the SAT. 

“My sermon on the first day is ‘If you don’t want to be here, don’t come,’” said Glenn Dowell, Founder and Community Liason of the Academy, said. “We only give 10 percent motivation here. You have to have that before you get here.”

One alumna of the group, Lexis Davis, needed to add 90 points to her SAT score to get into the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. She took the class and met her goal. 

“We know what is takes,” Dowell said. “So we’re not patient with inattention or students who are non-responsive. If you come in here, you have to know why you’re here.”

Current academy member Sidrick Cameron wants to get into Auburn, then Columbia, to study internal medicine. Elton Rubio wants to study computer science at University of West Georgia. On this Saturday, they both had appointments to have senior pictures made, but still chose to be in class until they had to leave. It’s the kind of dedication the course inspires.

The course has some dedicated adults on hand. Ameia Cotton is with the City of LaGrange but used to coach cheerleading at LaGrange High. 

“I love working with kids,” she said. “And I’ve seen a lot of cheerleaders and football players come through here. Some gained scholarships by going through the program.”

Dowell talked about the recent scandals where wealthy and famous moms bribed their kid’s way into college. 

“They could’ve saved some money,” he said. “For a minimal amount of money, $3,500, we can send 50 kids through this program, and we know it works. We can get their scores up. It’s not a bribe.”

The group uses Princeton Review’s book Cracking the SAT as a textbook. 

“This is our Bible,” said Dowell. It helps students prepare, but he said, “It’s also fun.” 

Community partners include Walmart, which gave the Academy a smart TV. 

The class can also watch SAT prep videos from other leaders and schools. 

“Video reinforces what we do here,” Dowell said. 

Students who crack 1000 on the test are forever known as “Thousandaires,” and their pictures are posted in the room as inspiration. 

“SAT study is easy if you just sit yourself down and listen. Ask questions, and stay until you get your questions answered,” Dowell said. “We honor their time and give them what they need to prepare.”