Justin Rule is an American educator, and like countless other educators, he works diligently every day to develop the minds of our nation’s young people. Yet in a recent interview with News from the Notch, Mr. Rule explained he hasn’t just worked in ordinary public or private school settings. He has worked with difficult cases, teen students struggling with serious disciplinary and/or criminal issues. His valiant efforts with these challenging young people frequently got his students to graduation day, but that often did not mean those students were set on a trajectory of future success. Mr. Rule expressed regret, saying he has attended far too many funerals of former students trapped in a cycle of poverty, violence, drugs, or alcohol.
It was a 1924 edition of President Coolidge’s book, The Price of Freedom, that gave him a vision for a better way. In August 2013 Rule was rummaging through the clutter of an ordinary yard sale when he stumbled across the book that would launch the next chapter of his life and bring renewal and opportunity to many others as well. Flipping through the pages of The Price of Freedom Rule noticed an essay entitled “The Needs of Education,” which prompted him to purchase the old book for $1.
It was only later, on a train trip to New York, that Mr. Rule decided to read the essay. When he did, he recognized what was missing from the educational environments over which he had presided in the past. In the essay, President Coolidge wrote “True education empowers both the intellectual power and the moral power of a human being. Efforts to achieve the one without the other cannot be met with success.” And later in his essay, President Coolidge elaborated that “it was beside the place of worship that there grew up a school, because man was realized for the value of his soul.”
These words inspired Mr. Rule, and his business partner Adam Grim, to launch a program to develop both the moral and academic potential of those looking for a fresh start in life. The Coolidge Academy was born.
Messrs. Rule and Grim offer an innovative program of digital education that connects students to a plethora of courses in marketing and digital media. The Coolidge Academy partners with local businesses to connect students with apprenticeships in their chosen field. Students have the opportunity to spend 50 to 60 hours a week working with agencies on important projects, helping them build their job skills, making connections that will help them in their future careers.
They also work to develop the moral character of students, teaching them decision making skills, work-place etiquette, and more. But, the Coolidge Academy is committed not only to forming students into productive employees, they also want their students to positively impact the tone and tenor of the digital marketing field. The Academy’s character development curriculum is directly aimed at accomplishing this goal.
Officially launched in January 2017, the Coolidge Academy now has five students in its inaugural class, including two refugee pupils. The founders aim to attract students from a wide array of backgrounds, everything from former convicts looking for a second chance to stay-at-home mothers ready to launch back into the workforce. As the Academy grows, they hope to expand their program online so that more students can benefit from the Coolidge experience.
We applaud Justin and Adam for their excellent work bringing the values of Calvin Coolidge to life by meeting a pressing need in our nation today. You can learn more about the Coolidge Academy on their website.