South Florida charter school hopes relocation will help more students with disabilities

Gulfstream Goodwill Academy moves from Boynton Beach to West Palm Beach
Gulfstream Goodwill Academy in Boynton Beach.
Posted at 10:35 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 09:02:11-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Elen Bay does not let a learning disability derail her dreams. She sits and listens intently to job market advice.

"What made me come here is that I wanted more job experience and I wanted to, basically, find myself a job," she said.

Gulfstream Goodwill Academy is a public charter school. The academy works with students with disabilities between the ages of 16-21 who have deferred graduating from high school to get work experience.

"In the real world, people with disabilities like me have a hard time finding a job, and I think this program encourages people to go," she said.

They will have to go farther now to pursue their dreams. The academy's pending move from Boynton Beach to West Palm Beach leaves no choice, though a bus service will be a big help for the commute.

"We'll definitely be more centrally located," Shannon McGhee, with Gulfstream Goodwill Academy, said.

Right now, the school has about 55 students with various disabilities. The options for a career vary widely from screen printing to graphic design and a culinary program.

"And we offer the serve safe training for students a certification program," McGhee said. "We also have several programs within our retail store that provide them with experience in the different operations and functions of our retail stores."

Anthony Kupchick is in training and has chosen a profession that fits his personality.

"I would like to work as a librarian because I like to read books," he said.

The school's mission is to prepare these young folks for adult life, which includes independence, being self-sufficient and being a contributing member of our community.

Bay said she's on the right track, even if that track means a longer commute.

"I came here to just be myself and to find who I am," she said.

In May, the school had 26 students graduates.