Kaleb Berry has lived in Duncanville for 10 years, but he has never attended a Duncanville ISD school until now. He is one of 126 students who make up the inaugural class of Duncanville High School’s Collegiate Academy.
For seven years, Kaleb attended private school. For the past three years, he was enrolled at a magnet school in another district.
At the end of eighth grade, Kaleb and his family were facing a choice many academically advanced students encounter when they also excel at extracurricular activities. Should they choose advanced curriculum and sacrifice the extracurricular activities or the other way around?
“When I heard the district was adding a collegiate academy, I pretty much made up my mind right then,” Kaleb said.
The list of Kaleb’s academic accomplishments is long. As a freshman, he has already earned nine high school credits and three college credits. He scored in the 98th percentile on the PSAT. He has already completed Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 and is planning to take pre-Calculus as a 9th grader. The 14-year old has declined multiple officers to skip a grade, and it could be argued he should be at a school that focuses solely on his chosen field, engineering.
But Kaleb loves to run, and he is good at it.
Last year, Kaleb’s parents sought and received special permission allowing him to run for Duncanville ISD’s Reed Middle School’s cross country team although he attended a school in a neighboring city. He didn’t just do okay. Kaleb finished the season as the eighth grade district champion. And he did it with the additional difficulties that come with attending an out-of-district school.
“I didn’t have as much time to practice because my school was further away,” Kaleb said. “I had to leave school earlier or be late for practice.”
Kaleb’s parents knew the situation could become even more complex in high school. They wanted to accommodate both his passions - athletic and academic. That opportunity arose when Duncanville High School added its new collegiate academy.
“Kaleb is hopeful the Collegiate Academy experience…will extend the academic rigor that he is accustomed to,” said Kaleb’s mom, Lakisha Berry.
“I’m looking forward to that kind of environment in smaller classes and focusing on my academics,” Kaleb said. “Sports have always been important to me, too, and I think it will be a lot better to be in sports and in a collegiate academy all in one school.”