Rockett Academy Recognizes First Class of Graduates

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On Sunday, May 31, 2015, the Rockett Academy recognized its first class of seventh and eighth graders who completed the year-long program. Graduates received certificates and special words of encouragement from the local firefighters who mentored them throughout the year.


“Each of these students has worked hard and learned a lot this year,” said Long Beach Fire Chief Mike Duree. “I’m proud of the students for completing this program, and I’m proud of the firefighters who have helped mentor these kids, often donating their own time and money to make this inaugural program a success.”

The Rockett Academy, a mentoring program for Long Beach Unified School District seventh and eighth grade students launched during the 2014-2015 school year, is named in honor of Darren Rockett, a Long Beach firefighter who died in 2011 as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Students in the Rockett Academy are required to attend weekly meetings, typically at a fire station, where they get a ground level view of a firefighter’s job under the supervision of a mentoring fire fighter. The students also have to maintain good attendance, display positive behavior at school, and keep up in their studies.

Selection into the Rockett Academy was based on factors used by school officials to identify “at risk” students based on poor attendance or grades. According to Dr. Erin Simon, LBUSD’s Director of Student Support Services, a majority of the students who participated in the Rockett Academy increased or maintained their grade point averages and, according to school officials, discipline incidents significantly decreased as well.

“The LBUSD is profoundly pleased with the level of support demonstrated by the LBFD,” said Dr.. Erin Simon. “Local firefighters were able to help students build school and community connectedness while simultaneously encouraging academic achievement. The Rockett Academy is a true indicator that positive role models can make a difference in a young person’s life. “

The Rockett Academy was initiated by LBUSD officials, local fire fighters, and City Prosecutor Doug Haubert as an effort to engage at-risk youth and improve school attendance. Although only 12 students were selected in its pilot year, that number is expected to more than double in the 2015-2016 school year.

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