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BRCC Fund Supports Military Children Through Scholarship Fund

Acton Academy is founded on the principles of the Montessori school system, essentially a one-room schoolhouse for the 21st century. This learner-driven environment is focused on a freedom-within-structure philosophy.

There is a network of Acton academies across the country, and one of the newest additions to the network is Apogee Cedar Park. Founded by Tim Kennedy, Apogee Cedar Park has been in existence since September 2021. 

"The thought of a learning environment that incorporates active learning, includes all the senses, and emphasizes a pursuit personalized to your individual gifts sounds amazing,” Kennedy said. “What kid doesn't deserve that?"

During the opening of one of Kennedy’s other businesses, Sheepdog Response, the Apogee team was honored and the Black Rifle Coffee Company Fund donated $5,000 dollars to their scholarship fund. This scholarship goes directly to the tuition of a student, and any student whose tuition is paid by a veteran or active duty service member is eligible to apply.

“There’s an educational revolution going on,” said Alexis Drees, head of Apogee Cedar Park. “A lot of times the first families to feel and experience that are the ones who can afford private schools and we’re trying to change that and open those doors. It's very exciting to see BRCC take a stand as a corporation that publicly supports this school as well as scholarships for military children.”

Photo courtesy of Alexis Drees/Apogee Cedar Park

One of the things most unique to Apogee is emphasizing the ideas of integrity and responsibility at an early age. At age seven, the students, referred to as heroes, have Socratic discussions, learning the importance of freedom and responsibility and how that works in a larger group, not just individually.

“Everyone has their own flavor with the adoption of Montessori principles,” Drees said. “There are definitely some military connections in Apogee, though if you spent the day here, you might get the vibe that it’s more of a hippie school. But the principles are all about respect, accountability, and strong body-strong mind.”

Photo courtesy of Alexis Drees/Apogee Cedar Park

The freedom-within-the-structure model refers to how the guides structure each day. The heroes are self-directed to decide what they want to work on or learn. Additionally, the school offers quests, 6-week-long collaborative projects that are focused on social studies, science, history, or civilizations studies. Apogee and the Acton academies are well-known for these hands-on projects that involve all of the heroes. The academy brings in speakers from all over the world that relate to the quest. For example, their upcoming anatomy quest hosts medevac doctors and fitness coaches to come in and speak. 

This is Apogee’s launch year, and currently there are 32 heroes enrolled with three guides. By the end of the year, they’ll be capped at 80 heroes spanning kindergarten through 12th grade, with a total of six guides. The beauty of the school system is that some of the high schoolers will be finished with high school by the end of their second year in the program. Between middle school and high school, the program becomes more rigorous, but the heroes are connected to internships and apprenticeships within the community. 

Photo courtesy of Alexis Drees/Apogee Cedar Park

Because Apogee is a mixed-age schoolhouse, the middle and high school age heroes also get to volunteer with the younger age groups and strengthen their leadership skills. 

Though there are hundreds of Acton academies, Apogee focuses heavily on physical fitness and sensory regulation and the importance of growing your body and brain together. 

In keeping with the principle of accountability, the heroes are responsible for checking each other’s work. Work is peer-reviewed, and the heroes hold each other to a high standard. 

“To be able to watch them self-govern is something that never ceases to amaze me,” Drees said. “They’ll develop roles and rules that get the job done and they all respect each other. They definitely create their own little civil societies.”

Photo courtesy of Alexis Drees/Apogee Cedar Park

“Because Tim [Kennedy] is a veteran himself, we bring in a lot of veteran families, those that have been medically discharged or disabled, as well as active duty families,” Drees said. “The scholarship allows us to grow our community and bring in all walks of life, regardless of income. We are so very proud and excited to be able to open that up to the veteran community.”