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Hope Hall

A children’s garden of achievements, tended with care and ambition

Every year the students of Hope Hall School bury their fears—literally. Each writes down one thing she thinks she can’t do—for example, make friends or master subtraction—and places it in a hole where new plants will soon grow. Some are grappling with central auditory processing disorder, a neurological condition that can make it difficult to understand speech, others with attention deficit disorder or autism, but these students will succeed 100 percent. They’ll graduate and more: “Starting with our youngest kids, they know the difference between a job and a career,” says Sister Diana Dolce, the school’s founder. A robust career program provides college visits, computer skills training, a trade program, and other support.

How does it work? According to seven-year-old Gavin, “They teach different. I couldn’t focus. I needed a little bit more attention. At my old school there was like 27 and in this school there’s only six.” For sixteen-year-old Sienna, the opportunity to teach dance changed the way she felt about herself and her life. For seventeen-year-old Fidel, the community support raised him from despair. Hope Hall is holistic, collaborative, and uncompromising in its faith in its students.

As one teacher says, “All the children here are remarkable.”