Our Founder’s story
Rebecca Elias was teaching Technology and Visual Arts at a secondary school, when in 2008, she attended a professional development presentation about ADHD. She quickly recognised familiar patterns of behaviour and characteristics that she identified in her son, but most confronting, in herself. Here is her story, in her own words.
“There was a woman speaking and it felt like she was telling my story. Almost all of the ‘classic’ traits of ADHD, I recognised in myself.
That morning set me on a path that I couldn’t ignore. It opened up a new world of learning, and changed my life forever. My mission began that day to advocate for the many young people who live in a world where they too are misunderstood.
Leaving teaching to study for a Masters degree, I chose an educational field that was also seriously misunderstood: children with diverse and complex learning profiles, such as dyslexia. I wanted to find out how to change this.
I traveled overseas during the course of my studies, and was fortunate enough to be supported and mentored by some of the best in the world of education and dyslexia.
Over two consecutive years, I spent time at The Gow School in New York who have led the way in educating students with dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties since 1926. Peter Gow, Jr., founded the school in a visionary effort to rethink the learning process.
Seeing the sense of empowerment and connectedness amongst the students at Gow, I knew it was something we needed in New Zealand. Fiercely motivated by Gow’s culture and success, I designed a week-long holiday program for children with dyslexia in 2016. Shortly after, our One Day School began in a small inner city house, with 6 students.
I spent the next year writing a new curriculum, gathering resources, interviewing families who were desperate to see their children happy again, and searching for an affordable building to create my vision of a full-time school. Finally, after a seemingly endless search, the Catholic Diocese offered me a lease on an unused classroom block in Takapuna. It was in dire need of a makeover, but I reached out to the parents waiting for enrolment spaces, and along with friends, we got the school sanded, painted, and ready to open. My eldest son and I hired a truck, and drove out to a school in Howick to collect 60 desks and 60 chairs for $60.00. And that’s how it all started.
Summit Point continues to grow. Together with a highly skilled team, the transformational success of our students continues to grow. Starting a school from scratch was hard, especially without Government support or funding. But we now regularly receive emails from parents of alumni students, telling us how their child is thriving in high school. Nothing encourages us more than that...we are on the right path.
Thank you to our dedicated Board of Directors, the Friedlander Foundation, and the Auckland Diocese, who all faithfully support the students at Summit Point School and continue to believe in our vision of helping young people find and fulfil their purpose.
Education is a human rights issue, and it’s one that we can tackle together.
"We were desperate to help our son’s self-esteem and confidence. Enrolling him at Summit Point restored his belief in himself."
"Being encouraged to demonstrate his knowledge using educational technology has helped remove barriers to my child’s learning and made him less anxious about tests and assessment."
"The teachers at Summit Point go above and beyond to nurture the different learning styles of students."
"Rebecca supported us to understand our child’s strengths and challenges and find a way to foster his love of learning."
"We have been working with Summit for almost a term and my word, our daughter has come a long way since she started at the school."
"It’s a hard decision sending your child to a ‘special’ school, but now we’re out the other side, we realise how much our daughter needed the attention and environment that Summit Point offers."
"Her time at Summit gave our daughter the space and time to learn at her own pace, be recognised for her talents and participate in the running of the school."
"Graduating from Summit, our child is a confident learner and has a range of strategies which have helped her transition to high school."