"It's been an all-around benefit for Andrew," she said. "I can't say enough good things about the program."
The school allowed five students, chosen by an administrator, to talk to the media briefly following a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier in the day.
A 17-year-old from Capitol Heights, Md., said she dropped out of school but thought it would be better to get a high school diploma through the academy than a GED. She said she also likes the school because it helps her remain physically fit.
"The school has changed me, honestly," she said. She is now college-bound which she did not consider a real possibility before, she said.
The school keeps the students busy all day. They start the day at 6 a.m. and must be in bed by 10:30 p.m., she said.
Of the five students, only the Capitol Heights girl said she had dropped out of school.
A 17-year-old from Westminster, Md. said she had not dropped out at the time she decided to join the academy.
She had not thought that she could get into college but now believes she can with a diploma from Role Models. She, too, said she likes the physical work at the school, which includes marching.
A 16-year-old from Salt Lake City said he was still attending regular public school when he decided to join Role Models, where he expected to get more discipline and better grades.
He decided to delay having friends and a girlfriend so he can focus on his education, he said.
A 18-year-old from Chamisal, N.M., said he wanted to join the academy because he thinks it will help fulfill his dream of going to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or another academy.
A 16-year-old from Frederick, Md., said he, too, joined the academy because he wanted to go to West Point. He said he was being homeschooled but did not indicate if that was a voluntary decision.
None expressed regrets or complained about the school's structure or discipline.