Cornerstone Christian Academy helps inner city students overcome adversity

A once-troubled student is now on the honor roll.

Monday, September 13, 2021
Cornerstone Christian Academy helps city students overcome adversity
DeAndre McLeod is an eighth-grader at Cornerstone Christian Academy who fully embodies his school slogan "Cornerstone Strong."

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- DeAndre McLeod is an eighth-grader at Cornerstone Christian Academy who fully embodies his school slogan "Cornerstone Strong."

His journey speaks to overcoming adversity after being kicked out of first grade from the School District of Philadelphia.

He is now an honor roll student and school ambassador. His mother later found out that her son was suffering from behavioral issues from ADHD, or Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. According to the CDC, a 2016 national parent survey found that one out of every ten children in the U.S. were diagnosed with ADHD.

"I got distracted a lot and got thrown off by the smallest things. But here they made sure I was focused," DeAndre said.

DeAndre came to Cornerstone in Southwest Philadelphia in second grade after being told he couldn't come back to public school.

Cornerstone prides itself on helping the children that society turns its back on. The school uses a combination of small groups with involvement from parents and counselors. It's something DeAndre's mother said worked for him.

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"You have to work with the school and miracles happen when teachers and parents work hand in hand," Maxine McLeod said.

"A parent is the first teacher in a child's life and really the most important teacher," Counselor Meg Born said.

Cornerstone Christian Academy emphasizes that they turn no child away because of financial reasons. The school currently has 180 students and the majority have 80 percent of their tuition covered with the school's $2 million operating budget.

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"DeAndre is showing us what it means to be Cornerstone Strong. We won't give up on you. We will do our best to get you where you need to be," Principal Richell Manigault said.

DeAndre said his past certainly doesn't define his future, something he's working towards. He aspires to be a scientist.