Families

Many Individual Stories Combine to Tell the Story of San Pasqual Academy

The stories of despair and angst turned into hope and a sense of belonging, which evoke tears and waves of emotion for anyone who hears them. Each foster youth’s story is a part of the fabric of San Pasqual Academy (SPA.)The first-in-the-nation residential educational foster academy continued to celebrate its ten-year anniversary this week with the showing of a documentary featuring the facility and a reception for students, supporters and dignitaries on campus. The documentary program is the syndicated “Turning Point.”

The documentary shows the history of SPA from a conference on foster youth that was the spark for the concept through the graduating class of 2011.

“With this last year’s graduating class, we have had 224 foster teens who have graduated from San Pasqual Academy,” said San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. “Ten years ago, Ron Roberts, Judge (James) Milliken and I felt we had a kernel of an idea, and we didn’t know how it would work out.”

But it has, and in grand fashion. No one could have predicted the success of SPA and the students who call it home. Ten years after opening its doors to the first class of three students, SPA boasts a graduation rate that hovers around 95 percent – nearly double the national rate for foster youth.

“None of us could have imagined what we have here today,” said Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairman Ron Roberts. “I don’t think anybody, anywhere knew how incredible this would turn out.”

SPA has succeeded because of the efforts of many in the community. From contractors like New Alternatives to County staff, to supporters such as the Friends of Pasqual and the volunteer grandparents – everyone has worked together to make the campus a true home for the foster youth who live here.

“The reason for the success of this academy is a dedicated and long standing group of partners. It’s collaboration in the full sense of the word,” said Roberts.

“More than anything else it has got to be gratifying to know as a student in SPA that this is home. It’s a home that will always be here for you,” said Cox. “It’s a home that’s here to support you, to give you guidance and if you ever need to come back, don’t hesitate to come back.

“That is why SPA has been so successful and why it’s making such a big difference.”

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact