NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Metro Schools and the Simon Youth Foundation are working together again to re-open a new Academy at Opry Mills. It's the third Academy of its kind and district leaders say the concept has helped cut the dropout rate by more than half.
At the Academy at Old Cockrill there's always time to celebrate. After all it's the student's time to shine.
Principal Elaine Fahrner summons all of the students and teachers into the hallway, sounds a bullhorn and announces the names of the newest graduates.
"Give it up for Jatraevion Thornton," she yells in the midst of cheers.
"I'm doing what I'm supposed to do," Thornton explained. "Staying out of trouble. Staying away from drugs."
"Miss Indigo Alexander," Fahrner announces.
Students arrived less than 8 credits away from getting their high school diploma. For one reason one reason or another going to the traditional high school just didn't work.
"These are just, I sometimes call them my little square pegs," Fahrner explained. "The traditional high school setting is not for them."
Some may say it's their last chance, but students say it's their best chance to succeed and it's working.
That's why Metro schools is working with the Simon Youth Foundation to open its third Academy at Opry Mills.
"Nashville serves for us as a national model and a new way that we're going to be doing business," Simon Youth Foundation CEO J. Michael Durnil said.
It's a direct investment into a student's life.
"I'm going to barber college in Clarksville," Thorton said.
That not only impacts them but the entire community.
"I just see myself being successful and accomplishing my dreams and just being a strong young lady," Alexander said about her future goals.
After the flood the original Academy at Opry Mills moved to Hickory Hollow Mall. Between the Hickory Hollow location and Old Cockrill this summer they expect to have their 1000th graduate.
Carmon Brown from Antioch High School has been named the new principal of the Academy at Opry Mills. The new Academy is accepting applications but it's not a done deal until Metro Council passes its budget.