LaGRANGE — The THINC College and Career Academy opened its doors Monday to students from all over Troup County.
”The students are loving the new academy,” said Kathy Carlisle, executive director of THINC, during a presentation to LaGrange City Council on Tuesday. “We had one student tell us that he never wants to leave. That really makes us feel like we’re doing something right. This is an exciting thing for LaGrange and Troup County.”
Carlisle said that the school has about 350 students inside the academy, which was less than the estimated 500 that THINC Academy administrators expected. The students have the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in a one-of-a-kind, 60,000-square-foot facility, she said.
“We offer business classes and marketing, as well as advanced college credit classes for students who wish to take those,” said Carlisle.
The career academy is one of 33 schools of its kind in Georgia. More than 15,000 students have enrolled in similar schools across the state. Educators hope to impose a strong sense of leadership within students while they are learning essential functions of skills in the technical workforce.
“A leader is not always the person that’s leading the team, it’s the characteristics of a leader that’s important,” said Carlisle. “They’re honest, they communicate, they do things for the betterment of other people.”
The University of Georgia has put together a Youth Leadership Program that THINC students will earn throughout the year. Carlisle said that the school wants to develop a culture of leadership in the academy.
“At THINC, we don’t have rules, we have expectations,” said Carlisle. “We want students to transform themselves through leadership.”
Carlisle said that the school will be more strict on attendance policies than other schools. THINC allows three days of missed attendance per year while other schools in Troup County allow five.
“If you don’t go to school, you’re not going to succeed,” said Carlisle. “If you don’t go to work, you’re not going to succeed.”
Carlisle said that there was some confusion among a few students in getting adjusted to moving from one school to another throughout the day, but many students are becoming accustomed to the change.
Students with a driver’s license and a vehicle will be allowed to drive to THINC, and county school buses will transport the rest. Any student in Troup’s public high schools are eligible to take classes at THINC.
In all county high schools, classes are divided into four blocks throughout the day. There are two blocks in the morning and two in the afternoon. Students will either take their morning two blocks at THINC or their afternoon blocks — meaning two different groups will go through the school each day.
The school cost about $9.2 million to create, and Kia donated an additional $600,000 to fund the academy on July 30.
More information about the THINC College and Career Academy is available at www.thincacademy.net or by calling 706-668-6804. Students interested in enrollment should speak with their school guidance counselor.
Donny Karr is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2154.