Why Not You Academy Empowers Students with Innovative Leaving to Learn Program, Fostering Diversity, and Career Readiness


By Kyle Sam for Runta News

Seattle, Washington – Amidst a transformative era in education, the Why Not You Academy (WNYA) has emerged as a pioneering force, equipping students for the challenges of the real world. Residing in South King County, students enjoy a safe campus to explore a variety of project-based, hands-on learning. Co-founded by Russell Wilson, Ciara, and the Why Not You Foundation, they shared a vision of re-imagining high school to prepare students for college and careers.

The Leaving to Learn Program, a cornerstone of the Academy’s approach, begins in 9th grade. Students start exploring career interests with internships and shadow days in the community. Early on in their education, students have the opportunity to find their passion. Student Justin Hayward states, “I feel like Why Not You Academy really prepares us for the future with the program. It helped me explore what I want to do. I found a passion for engineering and business, which I am now going to pursue.”

Beyond career exploration, the Why Not You Academy offers a range of experiences tailored to student’s individual interests and aspirations. From a state-of-the-art recording studio for aspiring musicians to an e-sports room for athletes, the Academy encourages students to develop their talents and pursue their passions. Evangeline, a student at Why Not You Academy, discovered her career interest in photojournalism through a passion project. With a love of writing and photography, she combined the two interests: “As part of it, I did an informational interview with a journalist, really preparing myself for the future and gaining experience talking to those at a higher level.” 

With an individualized education and rigorous curriculum, small class sizes help give each student one-on-one attention and support to thrive. Student Rochelle Jefferies calls the school “home,” noting that the environment feels safe and comfortable. She says, “The teachers and staff are very welcoming, building connections and mentoring us, making sure we can come to them with anything. I am able to relax and be myself.” Additionally, the teachers at Why Not You Academy are from various countries, bringing worldwide diversity to the classroom. This supports the school’s anti-racist vision of helping all students and offering inclusion for BIPOC students.

About Why Not You Academy

The Why Not You Academy opened its doors in the fall of 2021. Their mission is to prepare students for success in college, career, and civic life. Why Not You Academy is poised to grow to serve grades 9-12 and over 400 students. 

To learn more about Why Not You Academy, visit https://wnyacademy.org/

To take a virtual student-led tour, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6-f6StWo9Q