the nest academy is a faith based, trauma informed, private school with a vision to change the lives of charlotte’s refugee, Immigrant, under privileged, at risk, marginalized children to become confident, educated, and successful first generation high school graduates.
Educate, enrich, empower.
Years of Academic Excellence
First Generation Graduates
The Nest Academy was founded by Mary Catherine (MC) Hildreth in 2009. While homeschooling her three children and operating a non-profit for refugee youth in Charlotte’s Eastside, MC was heading an after school tutoring program for K-12 graders to help them advance educationally and offer support.
It was through the tutoring program that major setbacks and overwhelming cases of illiteracy were discovered, along with other educational obstacles and she was deeply troubled that these children were truly slipping through cracks in the educational system. They were struggling academically, socially and emotionally to the point of hopelessness.
MC felt compelled to do something immediately. She had the vision of what would become the Nest Academy, the heart and determination to believe it was possible to make a difference, and began a prototype school with a handful of students, a certified teacher and BIG faith, that would become “The little school for refugees making a big difference”, as acclaimed by EdNC.
The academy was founded on the vision for changing a broken system with just 5 girls who spoke English as a second or third language, were unable to read and write, were hopeless, were unwilling and unable to succeed. The need, someone to champion for their success…The Nest set out to be that champion and in 12 years has produced 12 first generation graduates.
EDUCATE, ENRICH and EMPOWER students struggling to thrive with quality EDUCATION, a sense of COMMUNITY with LOVE and RESPECT and to ENCOURAGE them to become confident, educated, accomplished, giving and successful FIRST GENERATION high school graduates. WE HAVE SEEN GREAT SUCCESS! The academy is unique, out of the box and unprecedented.
The Nest offers a trauma informed approach to learning with professional certified trauma experts (through its partnership with C4 Counseling, LLC), provides emotional/social learning in the classroom, offers one on one professional student counseling and family counseling, and has created a custom learning environment that is multi age, multi grade, multi level and multi faceted.
We integrate creative, performing and visual arts, music and rhythm therapy, provide a holistic approach to address the whole child, welcome public speakers in the community to inspire students, offer cutting edge physical, social, emotional training, and many experiential opportunities outside of the classroom, much like those MC personally experienced growing up.
Upon graduation, our students are equipped to succeed in America.The academy offers a faith based, trauma informed, private school education to refugees, immigrants and underprivileged youth, all from private funding, extending educational and extracurricular opportunities to equip them with the tools they need to make a difference in this world they were already having to navigate at a disadvantage. The academy grew from 5 girls in 2009 to 10 girls in 2011, and to 20 girls in 2012. Then the addition of 5 boys in 2013, when our prayers became louder and more frequent.
The Nest has grown to 36 currently enrolled students and a total of 12 first generation graduates! Our students have come as far as Vietnam, Thailand, Congo, Ethiopia, Mexico, Iraq, Malaysia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burma, Mali, Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala and Cambodia. Our students are taught the academic skills required to succeed, graduate high school and to pursue higher education. Our students are being trained and empowered to become people of exceptional character, service and generosity. Graduating from the academy has changed the trajectory of the lives of our graduates. Our graduates are NOW first generation college students and college graduates, whose bright futures began at The Nest.
In 2021, we look back at our humble small beginnings, our progress over the past 12 years and the great success of our amazing students. In 2021, we celebrate our 12 year anniversary of opening our doors.
The Nest Academy is a school that reflects love, honors culture, restores dignity, imparts wisdom and values, acceptance, diversity and anticipation for the future. The Nest Academy welcomes and embraces Charlotte’s most vulnerable and very deserving children who find love, hope and success within its Nest.
Founded from the vision to fulfill its mission in 2009, The Nest Academy offered the ‘gift of education’ to 5 refugee girls, alleviating the barriers, obstacles and pressures of public school, whose circumstances had stunted their academic success and were falling behind due to unmet individual needs. The academy grew from 5 girls in 2009 to nearly 40 in 2021. In 12 years, The Nest has graduated 12th first generation seniors.
We would love to chat with you about how you can get plugged in at the The Nest Academy. We have so many opportunities of you to connect our Nest.