With name like TNT Academy, graduation bound to be explosive. Ceremony falls apart.

It’s hard to believe how awry this private Stone Mountain school’s graduation went Friday.

First, school founder Nancy Gordeuk neglected to bring out the valedictorian to speak during the program. Then, she reacted angrily when audience members would not heed her admonishment to sit back down and listen to his belated speech. Gordeuk was also enraged over one man’s conduct, calling him a goober and a coward. To cap the event, she singled out black audience members for walking out amid the craziness.

TNT Academy describes itself as a “Non-Traditional Educational Center that serves middle and high school students engaged in independent study. ”

A former public and private school teacher, Gordeuk says on her website, “I decided to form TNT Academy for those students that need a one on one or small group setting. It also meets the needs of those students that do not like to listen to lectures, but like some hands on labs and learning. TNT also meets the need of those students that do not like to start a class at 7:30 am. Older students can work and come to school or pursue other activities of team sports on traveling teams, etc. TNT captures the needs of public school students that are bored in a classroom and are starting to get into trouble.”

I dread graduation ceremonies. Most speeches go on too long and there are too many of them. High school students usually report they had no idea what their graduation speaker said; they just wanted to get their diploma, pose for photos and go out to eat.

If TNT was going for a more memorable moment, they got it.

Reader Comments 0

58 comments
atln8tiv
atln8tiv

If she gets so flustered at something this minor, how is she in a true emergency? She doesn't seem fit for her position, but I guess anyone can open a school these days.

eulb
eulb

For those of you who are assuming TNT is an "alternative school" and its students are all there because of discipline problems and who mocked the notion of a valedictorian in such a school, please reconsider.


"Alternative School" is the Georgia term for a school for students who have been expelled.  A private "Nontraditional Educational Center "is something else entirely.  Most of the ones I know anything about are a cross between homeschooling/tutoring and traditional classes.


Here are the Georgia Accrediting Commission's standards: http://gac.coe.uga.edu/gac-standards/standards-for-non-traditional-educational-centers/ .  And here is a list of GAC-accredited nontraditional schools:  http://gac.coe.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/NTEC-3-16-15.pdf

TNT is on that list, along with ABC Montessori school in McDonough, Rivers Academy in Alpharetta, and a long list of Christian academies. It's possible to organize a nontraditional educational center for the purpose of serving the educational needs of students with serious disciplinary or behavioral problems (example: Alice Blount Academy of Science and Agriculture), but it's not the norm.



eulb
eulb

@OriginalProf @eulb Thanks for pointing that out.  That article does say "alternative school."  Hm-m-m.  My guess is:  the author is not from Georgia. 

I moved to Georgia from a state where "alternative school" meant experimental, Montessori, child-led, mixed age, hands-on, learn-by-doing, outdoor education, .... When I moved to Georgia and inquired about alternative schools here, my new friends were shocked that I would consider sending a gentle, vulnerable child who had never been in any trouble to an "alternative school". That's when I learned the  connotation in this state. 

Here's a New York company's attempt to classify Georgia private schools:  http://www.privateschoolreview.com/state_alternative_schools/type/6/stateid/GA  I wonder whether Creme de la Creme parents know their pre-schoolers are attending an "alternative school." ;-)

Ha! I just googled the author of that article you linked.  She lives and works in New York and went to college there.  That may account for her command of Georgia terminology. :)

redweather
redweather

I see she has opted to use "the devil made me do it" defense.

NikoleA
NikoleA

One report says that graduates paid $300 to have the ceremony at this church.  That sounds fishy to me.  Does this school get any state or federal funding?  If so, where does this money go?  How much of that money is for Ms. Gordeuk's salary?  I found 2 errors on the home page of the website soon after opening it.  This school should be investigated.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Great PR for the state... somebody will click on it.

straker
straker

Original - "other people were leaving who were white"


Were you there? If not, how do you know who was leaving and who was not?


As for "goober", I have never heard it used other than as a slang for a very country White person.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@straker

AJC and other news accounts reported this.


Consider your vocabulary widened. If you're a country White person, that may explain why you've only heard it used this way.

straker
straker

Original - "we don't know that most were"  "a 'goober', which is a racial slur for African-Americans"


Do you know that most weren't?


As for "goober", that is slang for a country White person.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@straker 

My point was that other people were leaving who were white, but the principal singled out those who were black.

And check my link. "Goober" is a wide-ranging insult., that does not mean only a country White person. "Goober" also means "peanut," which came from Africa...also  a nerd. It is not a good word for a principal to use about a black parent trying to take a cellphone picture at his child's graduation.

straker
straker

Just out of curiosity, if most of the people leaving WERE Black, how is her comment racist?

Starik
Starik

I'm a parent who believes in the public schools.  I am also a parent who wants the best for the kids I raise.  The middle school and high school where I used to live deteriorated rapidly to the point that something had to be done; I moved.  Other folks, many of them, can't move.  What alternatives are there?  Atlanta has some good expensive private schools, but not many and not affordable for people who can't afford to move. There are Christian and Catholic schools, but some people don't want their kids to have a religious education.  Home schooling is neither practical or desirable.  Therefore these mediocre private and online academies appear.  What they will do is provide a credential that will let the kids start college, or a trade school, or join the military and begin their real education.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@Starik 


Easy fix - students take the monies with them wherever they go but the monopoly known as public education has too many allies to prevent this.

honested
honested

@MiltonMan @Starik 

Well milty, after looking at what a stellar job this clod is doing, it's probably best to stick with what works rather than attempt to apply 'competition' and end up with a fiasco.

TheCarnivore
TheCarnivore

I'm still waiting for the apology from the blacks for walking out.  Why don't you take that angle, Maureen?

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

OK - maybe I'm missing it.  Why is a this racist outburst at a graduation a national news story?  Why do we give such a large amount of coverage to this situation?  What do we hope to accomplish?  This kind of contempt cannot be tolerated, yet the media seems to celebrate it with endless coverage. Wouldn't a better punishment be for parents to remove all students and her business/school license so she can't repeat this behavior. 


OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Looking4truth 

Well, the school certainly has been publicized so parents may well do this. It also serves as a sort of example of private, unregulated "alternative" schools that get public tax monies.

If she acts this way toward  parents who left after she seemed to give them permission, then how does she act toward her students who have been tossed out of regular schools because they are disciplinary problems?

redweather
redweather

These private academies are not well regulated in Georgia. 

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

A valedictorian at a school for troubled youth????

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

Maybe some anger management  and public speaking courses would help her out some.....that and not saying stupid shat like that?

CSpinks
CSpinks

And I thought my ability to say and to do the wrong thing at the wrong time was unparalleled.

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

All things considered, wouldn't you rather have your children at TNT Academy than the Parks Middle School of Monday's Get Schooled column?

Point
Point

I'm not sure this was an alternative school, just non-traditional.  I did go to the school website to learn more.  Ms. Gordeuk states she has 34 years in education, teaching many years in public and private schools.  I went to the GAPSC website and looked her up.  GAPSC shows her having a certificate for one year, 1983-1984. 

Who heads up Georgia Accrediting Commission and what are the requirements for accreditation?

NikoleA
NikoleA

@Point You don't have to be certified to work in private or religious schools, which is where she's taught these 34 years.

Point
Point

@NikoleA @Point  Yes, I know.  On TNT's website she gives herself credit for "several years in public schools."  I know charter and private schools do not require certification. 

Parksiann
Parksiann

She was simply having a bad day? 

Now try and imagine a typical day at the local traditional public school: the one these parents and their kids are presumably happy not to be a part of.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I note that "by Spring 2015" the school was to have SACS accreditation.  Did that happen?

Colwest
Colwest

sad that such can even be tolerated as education.  this is our democracy America, cherish it and puke

ZAZ
ZAZ

Well, this is really bizarre……..what can you say?

popacorn
popacorn

The obviously don't teach photography/video/multimedia at this fine school. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

I read about this incident yesterday, and noticed that the school was an alternative school for students who have had disciplinary problems at other schools. So it's not an ordinary charter or private school. And this incident makes me wonder if this is how she handled the day-to-day disciplining of her perhaps-difficult students.


For really--who wants to come back and listen to a valedictorian's speech?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@OriginalProf Perhaps there is a way to disseminate the speech via the web for the other students.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

Welcome to the world of Charter Education.......Pay Me!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Hopefully the valedictorian was able to offer his/her speech to remaining audience members. He/she earned the privilege. The principal's comments, however, may have spoiled it for him/her.

Weird behavior. She was probably more angry with herself for omitting the speech in the program.

Displaced anger accomplishes nothing. 

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@FIGMO2 Good point ,although anger at oneself usually doesn't  express itself as racist remarks.

straker
straker

You have to wonder what causes this kind of behavior by people who are intelligent and well educated.

popacorn
popacorn

@straker Being well educated does not always correlate to being intelligent. Depending on the degree, some well educated people can be quite dumb.