Academy makes the improbable possible for teens

A column by Miami Herald writer Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Words tumble to mind by way of description. Words like desolate. Words like tough. Words like hard and mean and grim and sad. Words like dead. Bail bonds and liquor stores are what passes for industry here. Ragged row houses, many boarded and abandoned, crowd one another like strangers in a bus shelter.
Now consider the girl who goes to school here. Danielle Branche, 16, is tiny, has a pretty smile and speaks with self-possession about her dreams.
”When I graduate, I want to go to either Antioch College in Ohio or Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and I want to get my bachelor’s in both dance and business management so I’ll be able to open my own dance company,” she said.
Consider the neighborhood. Consider the child. If they seem not to fit each other, well, that’s the point. Welcome to St. Frances Academy. Welcome to What Works.