By Federico Martinez
Tribune Staff Writer
Muskegon Maritime Academy’s opening this past week received overwhelmingly positive reviews from students and their parents, who praised the school’s emphasis on learning and discipline.
The Academy, which serves K-5 students, is Muskegon’s first public school with both a naval and maritime focus.
“I just want to say my son had an amazing day, so much he is excited to even return tomorrow,” Axel’s mother Tammy Backensto said. “If you knew how much he actually dislikes being away from home and “Mama,” you would understand how impressive this is.
“I can’t thank (the) staff enough for making this school an option for our community and children. I sincerely look forward to all the amazing things to come.”
The school is led by (Interim) School Leader Dan Beckeman, a long-time administrator from Reeths-Puffer Schools. School officials say Beckeman’s leadership is the key to a smooth start. “We are fortunate to have a seasoned, knowledgeable, and compassionate leader like Dan Beckeman. It’s truly a blessing”, stated School Founder Franklin A. Fudail. “We have a lot of work ahead, but I am confident we will be successful” asserts Fudail.
While the core curriculum will focus on developing strong reading and math skills, a strong emphasis will also include developing students’ self-esteem and confidence, self-discipline and leadership, officials say.
School officials will continue to roll out the school’s innovative curriculum and programs in the weeks ahead. The Cadet training program will launch this upcoming week, and the etiquette and manners classes will begin in week 3, school officials said.
“My son loves it there,” Muskegon Heights resident Tawana Williams wrote on the school’s Facebook page. Her comments were echoed by Palma Salazar, who has children enrolled in Kindergarten and 2nd grade.
Some parents are already pleading with school officials to expand grade levels.
“I need this to go up to 12th grade, please,” wrote Samantha Cox.