Hamilton eighth grader Charlee Hoover has flourished in Hamilton in just eight short months.
“I expected a peer to peer program, and we have gotten so much more," said Charlee's mother, Stacy.
Her parents enrolled her into Hamilton Middle School from out of district in September. Since then, she has not only fit in, she has excelled.
“She’s so much more included here," added Stacy, "She’s accepted here.”
Charlee is diagnosed with an intellectual disability and is a part of Mrs. Taylor Sale's daily living skills class at HMS, where she has quickly blossomed into a leader.
“Charlee is somebody in our Life Skills program that stands out," said Ken Lentz, Dean of Students at Hamilton Middle School. "She is an exemplifier for other students that maybe feel like they can’t do some of these things, but Charlee has proven that anything is possible.”
She truly has and isn't afraid to try new things, stepping out of her comfort zone this spring to join the HMS Track & Field team, running the 70-meter dash and throwing shotput.
“When I first met Charlee and she was interested in running track for us, I was all for it," Lentz, who also serves as the HMS Track & Field coach, said. "I saw the look in her eye, the enthusiasm and willingness to work hard throughout the season and she has not disappointed, she has been a blessing to the entire team.”
Not only has Charlee been accepted by her peers, she is embraced by both classmates and staff for who she is - a happy, caring, upbeat eighth grader.
“A lot of people love me," smiled Charlee, "A lot of kids talk to me and I have more friends [at Hamilton]."
Her mother says it's a 180 from last year as Charlee continues making friends, increasing her reading level, getting involved in sports, and simply, smiling.
“She absolutely loves it here," Stacy added, "She’s very happy and says hi to everyone in the hallway, teachers, staff, everybody. It’s phenomenal here, I don’t know any other way to explain it, it’s pretty phenomenal here.”
Charlee couldn't agree more.
“Hamilton Middle School is the best place I’ve ever been because people treat me like a teenager and not a little kid," Charlee added.