A victim of abuse and placed in the foster care system at only 12 years old, Kaiyanna Han had the odds stacked against her.
But despite her challenging childhood, the 11th grade student at William Lyon School serves as an inspiration in more ways than one. Han was recently recognized by the Association of California School Administrators — or ACSA — with the 2021 Every Student Succeeding Award for Region 17. The annual program, now in its 25th year, celebrates students who’ve excelled in their academic pursuits despite dealing with difficult or traumatic circumstances off campus.
“Kaiyanna is an inspiration to us all,” said ACCESS Assistant Superintendent Vern Burton. “Kaiyanna faced so many difficult challenges, and through hard work, a strong belief in oneself, and the support of the ACCESS teachers with strong leadership at Lyon, she has taken great leaps towards success in and beyond ACCESS. She truly personifies the reason why we do what we do in the ACCESS program.”
For those who might not be familiar, William Lyon school is one of four detention and treatment facilities run by OCDE’s alternative education program. Located at Orangewood Children and Family Center, students at William Lyon are taught within a traditional school setting under the supervision of OCDE’s ACCESS teachers, with the support of Orangewood Children and Family Center social service staff.
You can learn more about Han’s inspiring story by watching this video produced by ACSA.