National Academy Foundation Night allows students and parents to connect

Samara Cuaresma, Junior Editor

On Tuesday, September 27, Jackson-Reed hosted National Academy Foundation Night, an introduction to the academies for roughly 200 in-person attendants and 200 zoom participants. The night was an opportunity to clarify NAF academies to students and parents and show off student work. 


NAF Academy Director, Regina McClure helped organize the night, which started with an academy fair in the atrium. “It was a chance to showcase students, student voice and opportunity, which was the first part of the evening,” McClure said.  Each academy had its own table. The Health Sciences table had a dead pig and a fake skeleton, while the Electric Vehicles club (associated with the Engineering academy) drove a small car around the atrium. 


Since the evening was sponsored by the Parent Teacher Student Organization, student volunteers like Sophomore Ryan Hutchinson greeted families and encouraged them to donate. One table sold merchandise like bumper stickers, Jackson-Reed and CTE pens, shirts, and more, with a printed QR code for families to make payments to the PTSO. Hutchinson offered “complimentary snacks and waters.” The PTSO’s sponsorship also provided ice cream-a big draw for many attendees.


At the fair, the NAF went into detail about one of their goals. Communication with family. 

Mcclure hoped to specifically clarify the terms associated with the academy structure, explaining that CTE (Career and Technical Education) is the “umbrella term that the federal government provides funding for” and that NAF is an academy model that creates a framework to deliver that education to students. This was covered in the introductory presentation, which was followed by a panel on the NAF structure featuring students, parents, teachers, and the NAF directors McClure and Brandon Wims (NAF Director of the hospitality and tourism, finance, and creative media academies). Senior and engineering student Damien Arzakel discussed not only the academy’s workload and opportunities, but also his experience overall.


“At its core, the academy provides students within it with a support system that they can always rely on,” Arzakel explained. 


Upcoming NAF events include an engineering expo on December 8th and a middle school night in winter or spring. •