Former Baller Now a “Coach” to Camelot Students
It’s tough growing up in urban America’s inner cities and for many children, the emotional and psychological trauma associated with the problems of living in the inner city can make getting an education even more difficult.
That’s why Cammeron Woodyard, team leader for Camelot Education’s Achieve Academy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, does what he does. The 27 year old takes his responsibilities as a staff member seriously and, having grown up in Baltimore, understands the pressures and problems of growing up in the inner city.
“As the team leader, my first responsibility is the safety and security of the building,” he said. “I make sure the teachers have what they need and can operate throughout the day – and that we’re all on the same page. Most important is greeting and interacting with the students. I love my kids.”
Camelot Education, which has had awesome success with alternative education programming in Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, partnered with the Harrisburg School District to operate a new multi-faceted program for students having behavioral and/or academic difficulties in main stream schools.
Students at the Achieve Academy – which serves a maximum of 48 kids – takes young people into the program that have experienced disciplinary violations and were removed from their home campuses. Eventually, they’ll return to their home schools with improved behavior, attendance and academics. The transitional program began operating in the Camelot Education network in 2015.
“You have to show students who you are, and you can’t fake it with these kids. You have to meet them where they are. They see through phonies right away,” “Woodyard said.
Woodyard, who graduated from Penn State University, played on the Nittany Lions basketball team. According to the university’s athletic website, Woodyard played a big role in his final season in blue and white after having played behind a strong group of upperclassmen for most of his career. With the graduation of four senior starters, Woodyard returned as the most experienced Nittany Lion for his final campaign. He said athletics is a great asset to him.
“It’s one of my strongest assets in helping these kids. Many of them are big sports fans. It helps us reach each other and get to know one another. That’s important in reaching these kids. Without their trust, you’re not going to get very far with them. It takes a while, don’t get me wrong, but the school culture here is like a family. Everyone knows everyone else; just like Harrisburg. It’s a small place and the school is like that. We try to nurture a family environment. These kids know they can talk to me about anything and I try to listen as much as possible.”
Woodyard said that for the students, it’s crucial for them to realize that no matter what happened the day before, every day is a new one. New opportunities to start fresh will present themselves.
“We’re getting a new group of kids in now,” he said. “We watch them and take it day by day. We let them know that every day is a chance to start fresh. Not that they’re not held accountable for some of the things they do. But we show them it doesn’t have to control your life. Every day is filled with new opportunities and a chance to begin fresh.”
That sounds like a former athlete who has turned into a coach and positive role model!