Xceed Mother, Dawn Soper, Shares Why She is Thankful for Xceed

In January 2020, when Nick Jalkower broke his knee, his mother, Dawn Soper, was thankful—not for her son’s injury, but for the series of events three years prior when she decided to look into a new school for her son after seeing an Xceed Preparatory sign on her daily trek to the MetroRail station during Xceed’s inaugural year.

“It was my fortune that I saw the name ‘Xceed,’” she said.

She continues to feel fortunate every day since then, as she has watched her son not only recover from his injury but thrive in many other circumstances.

Nick is now in his senior year at Xceed Kendall. He began at the school in the 8th grade after Dawn had discovered Xceed and enrolled her son. According to Dawn, had he not been at Xceed when he was injured, he might not have been able to get to his senior year on time and successfully.

“My goal for Nick and his education was that he should be allowed to achieve his best self, and the traditional school was not working,” Dawn said.

Nick’s older sister had been attending a local public high school at the time, at a very prestigious magnet program for gifted students. Though her daughter was academically successful, her public school education had multiple deficiencies in addressing the whole person. Dawn often found herself trying to mitigate damage from overworked teachers and old-school policies that did not respect but, instead, discouraged the student.

The idea of encouraging the student to be their best self was what drew Dawn to enroll her second child at Xceed.

“From the platform in which the education and school were founded to the experience and resume of the school’s owners, from very early on, it was clear to me that Xceed was truly vested in their work and that they could have a profound impact on Nick’s education,” she said.

This became even more evident when Nick was injured in his sophomore year, requiring ten months of physical therapy, during which Xceed gave him the resources to stay on track with his education.

Of course, switching to the Xceed style and doing school full-time through an injury didn’t come without any bumps in the road.

“The school requires independence which requires good communication and planning,” Dawn said. Though initially challenging, the environment facilitated Nick to learn the skills to become a talented and intentional communicator and planner.

The opportunity to be flexible has also helped Nick balance academics with other passions and hobbies, including writing music and playing piano, two gifts he started nurturing when he was young.

“Music provides Nick with a creative outlet, an opportunity to unwind and express himself, and helps him grow by achieving goals with each new piece he writes or learns,” Dawn said. “Allowing Nick the time to pursue his musical passion helps him succeed as a whole person.”

“Xceed supports its students’ passions, helping them grow into well-rounded people by allowing them to delve deeply into their multi-faceted interests,” Dawn described.

In addition to his musical inclinations, for as long as Dawn can remember, Nick has wanted to be a major airline pilot. Unlike many people’s childhood dreams once they reach the end of high school, Nick’s dream of flying planes is still soaring.

After graduating in May of 2023, Nick plans to attend Miami Dade College for two years to get his Restricted Airline Transport Pilot License and an AA in professional pilot technology, followed by Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University to finish a four-year degree. Interested in learning more about Xceed’s innovative educational model? Check out the new user experience on our home page here.