HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — We've all been working as a community to grow through challenges these past few weeks. Overcoming trauma and looking forward is something happening daily at Randolph Academy in Hamburg. Teaching lessons we can all take with us.
"We really focus on building relationships, to be able to build them back up to realize they can restore harm that's been done. And be able to move themselves forward and find success in their life," said Danielle Cook, Superintendent.
It was established by the New York State Department of Education as a place to support, empower and educate students with emotional and mental health disabilities. These students may be living through difficult situations such as poverty, neglect, abuse or loss.
Students come from districts all over WNY, like Kai Mruk, 16, from Grand Island.
"I used to have a lot of trouble in school, but I've put forth my effort and blossomed and that's why I'm in NHS (National Honor Society)," said Mruk.
The school focuses on restorative justice as an alternative to punishment, they find it keeps students on track.
"We have students who have bad days or who make poor choices and we're able to really come together and circle up around them to support them and say we can work through this," said Cook.
It helped Ryan Hackford turn his behavior around, join NHS and get accepted to SUNY Fredonia.
"I'm gonna go for social studies, adolescence education. I'm gonna try to become a history teacher," said Hackford. "I had like support from staff and my friends and I've been able to grow and develop as a person."
Now, Hackford and Mruk are the ones providing the support.
They're running a food drive with their classmates in NHS for those impacted by the Tops mass shooting on Jefferson Ave.
"It feels really nice that we can be together with our own community and just help out when needed," said Mruk.
They're accepting donations through June 14 at their Hamburg Campus on 4655 Logans Lane in Hamburg.