GRAD Academy Memphis welcomes first class - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

GRAD Academy Memphis welcomes first class

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Thursday was the grand opening of a very unusual school. GRAD Academy Memphis is part of a national program  named Project GRAD USA.

The scholars there, and that is what they call the students, will focus on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. The objective at this school, which began operating in August, is to prepare the scholars for college, and more.

MORE: GRAD Academy to open in Memphis August 2013

It is obvious from the moment you enter what used to be South Side High that something special is going on at GRAD Academy Memphis.

Several of the scholars made presentations during the opening ceremonies officially launching this new program which will focus on teaching science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

"We've only been open for three months," said Keyundah Coleman, principal. "Now were pretty pleased in terms of again with the scholars progress and what they have been able to show and demonstrate with our 21st Century program."

A good example: one of the 190 freshman making up the very first class at GRAD Academy Memphis came out with a school app.

"We're in a knowledge-based economy right now and everything has a technology - math, science component to it, so even if they are not going to major in that study they have got to be fluent in it," said Darrell Ogden, CEO GRAD USA. "They have got to be immersed in it. Understand how to integrate it into their work that they do. That will be true of whatever work that they will pursue.

While GRAD Academy is certainly about graduating, graduating from high school and graduating from college. Ultimately it's about jobs.

"GRAD nationally moves through 60-percent of the students graduating from grad schools head off to college," Ogden said. "Those students pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math; 92-percent higher rated than average students of any demographic group. So that emphasis we have has a huge impact."

This founding class of freshmen will be joined by the second freshman class next year and so on until this founding class graduates. By then this GRAD program could be more of a standard than an experiment.

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