Originally published in Martin County Enterprise & Weekly Herald – May 9, 2019
Growing up, Jalen Barkley dreaded going to school. Born with a speech and developmental delay, he was the target of classroom bullies. At the age of 10, he began taking karate and, over the years, worked his way up to a firstdegree black belt. Karate enabled him to defend himself, but more often than not, he was suspended from school for fighting.
Jalen’s mother, Pamela, watched his grades plummet, as well as his selfesteem. “Every day he was picked on for the way he talked,” she said. “Every day it was always something. He would always fight back then they would suspend him. There was always somebody constantly picking on him. It got to the point where he was depressed and didn’t want to go to school.”
Now 18, and a senior, he is bright, a little bit shy, athletic and funny. His love for all things Tyler Perry (comedian) reveals his sense of humor. His grades are at an all time high A’s and B’s and he recently was voted on by over 200 peers to be prom king. The difference, according to Pamela, was enrolling Jalen in the North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA), an online public charter school authorized by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Read the full article from Martin County Enterprise & Weekly Herald.
To learn more about North Carolina Virtual Academy, visit https://ncva.k12.com/.