A Mother’s Tale: ‘Lawrence School Was the Answer’

Nothing brings us as much joy as when we hear stories about former Lawrence students who have gone on to achieve amazing things. That’s why we were thrilled when one of our parents reached out to tell us about her son, whose story of courage and perseverance is truly inspiring.

Jon Burkett came to Lawrence just before the new millennium. Although his time was brief, his mother, Sandy, attributes much of his success to his experience within our walls. We were honored when she agreed to share her perspective as a proud mother who once wondered, “Is Lawrence the right school for my child?”


As parents, we’ve all been there.

We’ve spent several frustrating years trying to help our children learn. Eventually we all arrive at the same critical place, trying to decide if a private school is the answer. And specifically, if Lawrence School is the answer.

Sandy Burkett and her son, Jon, following his Marine Corp Embassy Guard graduation.

Sandy Burkett and her son, Jon, following his Marine Corp Embassy Guard graduation.

For our son Jon, and for our family, Lawrence School was the answer.

We already knew what public school did not have for our son. What we did not know when we started the journey, was whether Lawrence could address Jon’s unique learning challenges.

Our decision to send Jon to Lawrence was not just a monetary investment, it was an investment of our faith in an approach that we were unfamiliar with. Though it was only sixth grade when Jon started at Lawrence, it somehow felt like his last chance. All we could think of was what is to become of our son if we don’t make this choice?

Our concerns quickly dissipated as Jon began to thrive almost immediately after starting Lawrence. The multi-modal learning approach was exactly what Jon needed and responded to. The incredible boost in Jon’s self-esteem brought tears to our eyes. It was truly something that we had never seen in his years of public school. You can’t put a price on that. Our only regret about Lawrence School was that they had not yet established their high school for Jon to continue on to after completing middle school.

As an adult, Jon still utilizes learning methods he gained during his time at Lawrence. He has been able to apply his skill sets in advancing his career as an active duty Marine. Further, Jon was accepted and just graduated from a very competitive program in the Marine Corp. Jon will spend the next three years acting as a Marine Corps Embassy Guard guarding our U.S. Embassies. His first assignment will be in Rome, Italy.

Could Jon have achieved this level of success without Lawrence? We don’t think so. Lawrence School provided the social, emotional and educational foundation that he needed to succeed in whatever endeavor he chose.

We know that all of the Marines who succeeded in the Embassy Guard program worked hard. But we knew how many more challenges than most, Jon had to face to walk across that stage. He had to work harder and experience more stress than from any other experience in his life. Aside from the physical demands of this course, he had to take many tests – including course content and personality tests, be interviewed by a psychiatrist and even take pepper spray in his eyes. But we give so much credit to Lawrence, our efforts, our personal faith, and of course, to Jon’s determination to succeed.

As his ‘beyond proud’ parents, we felt as if we were watching our son walk across the finish line in more ways than one.

We would like to thank the Lawrence School for playing a significant part in Jon’s success. We know that given the right foundation of learning and social skills, each student at Lawrence can achieve a bright future.

-Sandy Burkett
The Burkett Family (Steve, Sandy, Jon and Kelsey)


Do you have a Lawrence School success story you would like to share? Use the space below in the reply section or email our Communications Director Paul Warner at pwarner@lawrenceschool.org. We’d love to hear from you!

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