This heuristic inquiry explores how to assist at-risk students to grow beyond the suffering inherent to life. It is an example of a deep, rich autobiography and consciousness-raising phenomenological research. The final purpose of heuristic inquiry is transformation of the researcher, illustrated in personal breakthroughs and insights; accomplished through immersion into the topic, acquisition of knowledge, and explication of the experience. This process led to the creation of the Suffering to Self-Actualization Cycle depicting the cyclical nature of life, emotional pain, and human responses; all motivators that can lead to seeking and spirituality. Implications for education are presented in a model school proposal designed to develop skills and experiences for children to transition from suffering to self-actualization. This unique work designed for researchers, substance abuse or school counselors, and education administrators involved in school improvement who want students to develop resilience, will find the Suffering to Self-Actualization Cycle and recommendations for a humanistic, research-based model school make for captivating professional reading.