Immokalee Community Academy celebrates expansion

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

Thanks to many generous donors and grants, Immokalee Community Academy celebrated a seven-classroom expansion on Friday.

Principal Zulaika Quintero says the moment marks a historic change for families and children in Immokalee.

“We are just very humbled to know that there are people in the community that want to give back to our farmworker families,” Quintero said.

Redlands Christian Migrant Association provides educational opportunities for people in Immokalee living in poverty, mainly migrant and agricultural working families. On Friday, the academy showed off its new classrooms for everyone to see.

“We only were kinder[garten] to sixth [grade] for so many years,” Quintero said. “Now, we’re seventh and eighth. It’s very emotional, I think.”

Quintero was raised in Immokalee. She says having new classroom is a life-changing opportunity for many of their students.

“Many of our scholars don’t have the necessary tools that they need for success,” Quintero said. “So, I think now that we have a middle school campus, we are able to be more proactive than reactive when it comes to their needs, considering social-emotional needs, mental health, academics… everything, you name it.”

RCMA also received $3 million from local Lipman Family Farms, giving RCMA the chance to expand its charter academies in Immokalee.

“This is the culmination of a long-standing relationship that we have had with RCMA,” said Jaime Weisinger with Lipman Family Farms. “We knew from the beginning that RCMA may share the same values we did. It’s to provide a safe environment for families to leave their kids so that they can develop them into productive adults.”

“It’s a blessing to be a part of it, and it’s a blessing to be able to say that we help assure that these students in all received everything they needed and then some, and be successful at high school,” Quintero said.

RCMA also announced the May 12 groundbreaking for a new campus.

Click here to learn more about RCMA.

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