10/20/10 — WEMCHS recognized for 100 percent graduation

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WEMCHS recognized for 100 percent graduation

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 20, 2010 1:46 PM

Wayne Early/Middle College High School has gained state acclaim for having a 100 percent graduation rate.

The school was one of 11 in the state recognized recently during a Graduation Achievement Awards Recognition, when the N.C. Department of Public Instruction honored schools with the highest four-year graduation rates for 2009-10.

Since being introduced on the Wayne Community College campus in 2006, WEMCH has earned accolades, even at the national level. In March, it made it to a list of "America's Best High Schools" sponsored by U.S. News and World Report.

Its initial year, the school opened with just juniors and seniors, adding a class of freshmen the following year.

This year, with 248 students, will mark the first group to complete all four years of high school at the school.

WEMCH is a unique school, specifically designed to offer students the opportunity to attend college classes while receiving their high school classes in a smaller setting, said Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor.

While the district continues to work hard to improve its graduation rates, Taylor said it is nevertheless impressive to have WEMCH already accomplishing that.

Taylor, along with Rick Pridgen, school board chairman, and Lee Johnson, principal at Wayne Early/Middle, attended the recognition luncheon held Oct. 13 in Raleigh.

During the event, Mrs. Johnson was given the opportunity to speak about the school, along with principals, superintendents and Board of Education members from around the state.

"They picked four of us to tell why we thought we were successful," she said. "I recently spoke with my staff to hear their thoughts on why our school had achieved a 100 percent graduation rate. What they said was no surprise. They felt our school is unique in that it is a family. ... We all agreed that one of the many school principles of personalization was one of our keys to success."

Having small class sizes and taking the time to know students has allowed teachers and staff the opportunity to develop strong bonds, much like a family.

"That family piece and knowing what was going on with them was the glue, the thing that really made it successful," she said. "Like a family, our students and staff support one another. I believe this support helps cultivate a meaningful educational experience for students, and is a motivating factor for students to work hard, come to school and successfully graduate."