September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and we’d like to share a story that’s at the very heart of E3 Academy’s mission and message.
Beginning in 1st grade, Claire Tietgen was the victim of bullying that lasted all through elementary and middle school, progressing from name calling and taunts to physical attacks. Her school denied knowledge of the bullying and took no action to protect her. At just 13 years old, Claire wrote in her diaries and on the walls of her closet that she wanted to die.
Thankfully, Claire’s story doesn’t end there. With a little inspiration from the movie “Real Steel,” she began attending mixed martial arts classes. At the gym, she developed new confidence and strength, finding a community where she belonged and where kids were actually excited to see her.
At school, she was able to turn her near-failing grades into A’s and B’s thanks to a Kolbe assessment for youth and Kolbe consultant Dr. Ramon Corrales. She discovered her unique problem-solving instincts and learned how to advocate for herself. In this new phase of life, Claire wasn’t a victim anymore–she was confident, resilient, and a voice for other students who were struggling.
She went on to found the E3 Scholarship Fund with her father, Charles Tietgen, which eventually led to the creation of E3 Academy. Our mission is to help students like Claire find their voice, their self-esteem, and their confidence by unlocking the instincts that drive them to success. When children understand the unique ways that they learn, they have greater odds of success both in school and in life. It is because of Claire, and her incredible story of survival, that E3 Academy has been able to help hundreds of students around the KC metro area.
If you or your child are struggling today, resources are available. You can call the 9-8-8 crisis hotline 24 hours a day, or text TALK to 741741. Please reach out for help, either to a mental health professional or a trusted friend. Claire’s story is proof that, even when things seem hopeless, there are always better days ahead.