Inspire Academy lit up for open house

Published 9:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

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Inspire Academy was full of activity Tuesday morning as students, parents, and other interested community members toured the grounds during an open house. The outdoor area between the buildings was aglow with 50,000 LED Christmas lights, synchronized to music, that had been put up by students. Visitors were treated to complimentary hot chocolate and interviewed teachers about their subjects.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to show what we have here within our own community to teach the children that are coming up about all the different careers that are available to them,” Principal Dr. Tyler Nelson said. “We’re hoping this open house will kind of enlighten the community as to what we have to offer within our own school system.”

Business finance teacher Linda Thomas said she hoped those visiting her classroom would learn that what she teaches is more than just a required career preparedness class.

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“I offer a lot of different finance classes such as accounting, personal finance, banking and financial systems, and I offer a lot of the business technology application courses and a lot of other computer courses,” she said.

Thomas said she hoped students would take at least one of her courses to become better consumers.

Agricultural construction teacher Joshua Bryan said teachers at Inspire Academy aim to prepare students for life after high school, whether they plan to immediately join the workforce or go to college.

“If they’re going to own a house one day, we teach them skills they need to know so they don’t have to pay $400 for a plumber to come look at a leak,” he said.

Bryan said he teaches students various types of welding.

“We also teach electricity, plumbing, construction, and I teach aquaculture,” he said.

Some visitors expressed their approval of the school after getting to interact with it in person.

“I’m actually very impressed, and I can definitely see how my child is learning through all the hands-on things that he’s able to do,” said Brittany McDonald, a parent of an Inspire Academy student.

The career technical education opportunities at Inspire Academy were first

established in 1977, according to a press release from the school. The campus serves more than 600 students daily from schools across Chambers County as well as Lanett City Schools. Inspire Academy offers a variety of programs including agriscience, automotive service technology, building construction, business and finance, cosmetology, distance learning, pre-engineering, culinary arts, hospitality and tourism and manufacturing. Students can also earn dual enrollment credits in partnership with Southern Union State Community College in several of the program offerings.

According to ​​Chambers County Schools Superintendent Casey Chambley, thousands of dollars were committed to renovating the pre-engineering program so mechatronics engineering could be integrated into the curriculum. Mechatronics focuses on the integration of mechanical and electronic systems and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer science,

telecommunications, systems, control and manufacturing production. The pre-engineering program is also the sponsor of Inspire Academy’s GreenPower Racing Team.

The Inspire Academy Virtual School has grown to host over 115 students in grades 6-12

across Chambers County. The students are enrolled in their core courses of English, math, science, and social studies but can also attend in-person classes on campus for

career technical education courses. Many of these students attend the Virtual School lab for their academic classes each day and then transition to their career technical classes with opportunities to get involved with several clubs or extracurriculars such as FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, and the GreenPower Racing Team.