More than a dozen LEAD Academy grads currently attending Middle Tennessee State University met up on campus Thursday with Christine Harris, LEAD’s Director of College Counseling, to check in and see how their collective years are going.

Ms. Harris, known to many of the students as “Mama Speich,” met with students representing all four of LEAD’s graduating classes (2014-2017).

“Just because they graduated from LEAD doesn’t mean our students aren’t still part of our family,” she said after the visit. “Our goal is to make sure our graduates know they have someone to lean on or call in case they are in need of support – it’s also important to talk to our students to gather feedback so that we can implement it in both our college counseling curriculum and seminar classes.”

Among the students who met up were Temi Thomas ’14, DeAndra Lockett ’15 and Dan Johnson ’16.

“I hope other kids feel the same way that I felt when I went to LEAD,” said Thomas ’14, now senior Spanish major at MTSU with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “It’s such a family. The teachers legit care about you outside of class. You could be yourself. You didn’t have to pretend or fit in or be the typical high school stereotype.”

“Y’all are always there for us,” Lockett said. “It’s home. LEAD Academy is home to me.”

“LEAD is not just a high school,” Johnson said. “It’s basically your family. They help you with college. But once you go to college they don’t leave you because family doesn’t leave you."

For pictures from today's meet up, check out our Facebook page.