Marja Hilfiker, Linda Brown Myrick ( first AoH Graduate ), and Gayle Boss In 1985, Marja Hilfiker and Gayle Boss began tutoring adult students in need of high school credentials or literacy proficiency. They met with students in a small room meant for security guards at the Ritz a partment building in Adams Morgan. As word of their efforts spread, requests for help began to grow. Marja and Gayle served 19 students that first year, teaching two hours of math and two hours of reading each day. The two women consider Linda Brown, the first of their students to earn her GED, a co-founder of the Academy. Linda taught them what adult students needed most. The school grew, and soon Gayle and Marja opened a second site, at 16th and S streets N.W. Before long, the student population had grown to 70, and the number of volunteers to manage and train grew as well. Academy of Hope hired its first director in 1993, and moved into the National Baptist Memorial Church at the intersection of Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant in 1994. After more than 20 years, Academy of Hope has moved into a new facility, situated on the property of the 850-unit Edgewood Terrace apartment complex, owned by the Community Preservation and Development Corporation, a nonprofit housing developer. There, in Washington, D.C.'s Ward 5, one of the most underserved neighborhoods in the district, school provides families the hope and skills needed for a better life.