The Importance of FACTS | Franklin Academy

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The Importance of FACTS

I received an email this week from Michele Petryk, mother of Cathryn who graduated from Franklin Academy last June (pictured above as Mary Murphy awards her diploma) and matriculated this fall at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.  According to its website, “Earlham is a national liberal arts college with a reputation for excellent teaching and preparing students to make a profound positive difference in the world."  It is among the select Colleges that Change Lives.  Here is what Michele writes: 

Dear Fred,

As we start the New Year, I wanted you to know that we are so grateful for Alex Wood and the FACTS program.  Without it I know that Cathryn would not have made it through her first semester.  She started out strong at Earlham College, but as you know, Life happens and there were obstacles.  In particular, there was a logistical problem with the delivery of her meds that led to a sudden deterioration in her ability to cope.  Alex was with her every step of the way down and, crucially, on the way back up as she recovered from that setback.  He supported her daily, hourly, and sometimes, minute by minute, and helped her in the following weeks to recover her sense of well being and her academic standing.  As of the end of term, she passed all her classes.  He was also an invaluable source of guidance for Adam and me throughout the episode. 

As I write this, Cathryn in enjoying a group phone chat with her college friends, who seem to be a lovely, quirky, supportive group of young adults.  The fact that I can write this last sentence is a minor miracle!  We are very proud of Cathryn's resilience, displayed throughout the semester.  A couple of her peers did not make it through, and I wonder if they had had the benefit of a counselor, would the outcome have been different.  Clearly there is a pressing need for this kind of support for a large group of college students, so bravo to Franklin Academy and to Alex for your foresight and caring expertise.  It has been a lifeline for all of us.  

I hope you are doing well.  All the best for 2018.


I was delighted to share Michele's email with Alex and review with him the performance of our nine Franklin Academy alumni (and one older brother of a FA senior) currently enrolled in the FACTS program.  Alex reports that everyone earned credit in all of their courses.  The group grade point average was 2.8 (83% on a percentile scale or a B- letter grade), and half of the group had GPAs 3.0 or higher.  Frankly, I tip my hat to these hard-working college students and their coach.

Franklin Academy's administration agrees with Michele's statement that "clearly there is a pressing need for this kind of support."  We endorsed Alex's big idea almost three years ago, and he started with one student in a carefully initiated pilot program that grew to three students last year and ten students this year.  The plan for 2018-19 is to add another coach to partner with Alex, allowing FACTS to serve 18 college students.  At the moment, fourteen of the slots have been claimed, leaving four vacancies to be filled.  Attached is a FACTS overview.  For more information, please email Alex at awood [at]

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