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Rachael Gotterson
International Academy of Flint, Class of 2017

Rachael Gotterson joined the International Academy of Flint (IAF), a SABIS® public charter school located in Flint, Michigan, in the U.S. in 2009 as a 5th grader after being homeschooled up until then. Initially, Rachael struggled socially, finding the transition to a formal education setting challenging. On top of having to adjust to challenges at school, Rachael’s parents went through a divorce, and her mother, with whom she was living, fell on hard times, so Rachael moved in with her older sister (a teacher at IAF), who was named as her guardian. Later, Rachael experienced a serious, protracted health issue that required her to be hospitalized and miss school. She also tragically lost a sibling to suicide.

Through all her struggles, Rachael remained strong. She was an active member of SABIS Student Life Organization® (SLO®), which she attributes with helping her carry on when her world seemed to be crashing down around her. She participated in a variety of community service projects such as food drives at the school, McKinley park clean-up, and the “Big Sisters, Big Brothers” program. In 2016, she was selected to travel to Athens, Greece, for the Student Life Training Conference, and in her senior year, she served as the Head Prefect at IAF and was the face of SLO® at the school. She tutored students and was part of the robotics team, which she also captained. Additionally, she played a pivotal role in the school’s bullying prevention initiative, drawing on her own experiences as a younger student.

When thinking back on the impact SLO® had on Rachael’s life, she says that it was a “huge help.” “I was going through some really rough struggles in my life […]. Not only did SLO® make me a happier person, but it made me capable of taking all the struggles life had thrown at me and turning them into something positive. I was able to help others as well, and I learned that I wanted to inspire people in whatever I did in life.”

She is already an inspiration! Rachael graduated from IAF in 2017 and is now attending Kettering University, where she is pursuing a major in computer programming. We wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors!

If you would like to learn more about The International Academy of Flint in Michigan, visit If you are a graduate of a SABIS® Network school and would like to find fellow graduates near you, log on to today!