Stories of Success: I Love My Key School

Annette, Tim and Marshall Searcy

Marshall and Annette Searcy, Key School’s honorary chairs for the 2013-2014 Changing Lives Campaign, know that for their son, Tim, “…without reservation…Key School was an answer to our prayers.”

Timosha (Tim) Searcy’s story begins in 1998, Ryaza, Russia. Abandoned and shuffled around various government-run orphanages, Tim suffered from limited healthcare, poor nutrition, and little or no early childhood development during his first five years.

In 2003, Marshall and Annette Searcy had determined to adopt a child, now that their own children had left the nest. The next summer, they hosted five-year-old Tim in their home for two weeks through a Gladney Home summer program for Russian children. They immediately fell in love with this small, towheaded, blue eyed boy and knew without thinking what their next step would be. Little Timosha became Tim Searcy in December, 2003.

As Tim slowly acclimated to American life, the Searcys focused on his education. Aside from the obvious hurdles of language and deprivation, Tim’s delayed development posed a challenge. After placement testing, which non-English speaking Tim could not understand, FWISD placed Tim in a first grade class at a local public school.

Disaster followed as Tim and his mom, Annette, struggled for hours with schoolwork.

They sought advice from professionals in the area of internationally adopted children, but came away without a solution. The public school had neither the resources nor the programs to help Tim progress.

Ultimately, his inadequate communication skills, combined with his eagerness to please, left him exhausted at the end of each school day. One afternoon, when Annette asked Tim about his day, he responded with red face, clenched fists, and eyes squeezed shut. At that point, Annette knew that she and Marshall had to find a school alternative.

“As soon as we returned home, I searched the internet for some answers. Having recalled hearing of Key School from a friend, I pulled up the web site.” The next day, Annette, Marshall, and Tim met with Mary Ann Key and arranged for a three day visit. Upon completing his third day, Tim ran to the car, jumped in and screamed in broken English, “I LOVE MY KEY SCHOOL!” Nine years later, 14 year-old Tim Searcy still “loves his Key School.”

From those first days in the welcoming classrooms of Ms. Berg and Mrs. Christian to Tim’s current accomplishments, Tim has thrived personally and academically.

When asked, Tim will tell you his favorite classes are math, science, roots, and geography. That little Russian boy who could barely speak English will now stand confidently in front of a class and share memories of visiting St. Basil’s Cathedral. In composition class he writes about the fun he has at the Searcy’s summer home in Tennessee. His parents “continue to be overwhelmed” when they “sit and listen to him read or recite his Latin root words, master a difficult math problem, or discuss… history and science.” Tim’s plans after graduating from Key School include attending classes at TCU and working with Team Squad Police dispatch.

Tim says all of this with a huge smile on his face.

As a highly recognized and award-winning Fort Worth lawyer, Marshall Searcy quickly acknowledges that adopting Tim is far and away “the best thing I have ever done.”

Annette and Marshall Searcy know “…without a doubt, Tim would not be where he is today without Key School. Without the personalized classes, phenomenal teachers and outstanding student body at Key School, this would never have been possible… 

We simply cannot imagine Tim’s life or ours without ‘our Key School!’”

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