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Achieve Scholar Perseveres at Junior Olympics

After all of the practice and all of the training, one Achieve Charter Academy scholar leaned on the Moral Focus virtues she learned as a part of National Heritage Academies’ (NHA) character-based curriculum in the biggest race of her young track career.
Caiyah Collins, who is heading into second grade at Achieve, raced in the 800 meters this summer at the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa. But there was one problem for Collins and the rest of her competitors: they were facing torrential rainfall, which isn’t the best weather to compete in.

Caiyah’s mother Crystal, a fourth-grade teacher at Achieve, said she gave her daughter a pep talk before the race began.
 Collins sisters supporting her.Caiyah Collins poses for a photo with her siblings in Des Moines, Iowa, where she competed in the AAU Junior Olympics.
“Before the Junior Olympics, we talked about perseverance because it’s a Moral Focus virtue,” Crystal said. “I also shared a story with her about Simone Biles because she persevered.”
Caiyah hit the soaking wet track and finished fifth in her heat, a stellar accomplishment to cap off her first season running track. It’s perseverance like this that has helped Achieve outperform the district for 11 years.
Collins with her medal.Caiyah Collins poses with her medal from the AAU Junior Olympics. She persevered through a rainstorm to finish her 800-meter race.
The newest Junior Olympian made the transition to the track from her first interest, which was gymnastics. Crystal said her daughter’s stint on the gymnastics mat was short due to her above average height. Caiyah is in the 98th percentile in her age for height.
“Her height forced her to work super hard to support her center of gravity,” Crystal said. “I encouraged her to try a different sport, and since she comes from a long line of track runners, we introduced her to track."
“Caiyah was a natural the first day she started.”
Caiyah trained with the Ann Arbor Track Club for three days per week, working on her sprinting abilities. She ran the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, and 800 meters in her first season on the track.
She persevered through her first season and is ready to continue running with the Ann Arbor Track Club in the future.
Congratulations and keep up the hard work, Caiyah!
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About Achieve Charter Academy
Achieve Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Canton, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 95 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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