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OIA graduate class with 75% earning college credits, second-highest ACT in region

May 23, 2022 | 12:09 am

Updated May 22, 2022 | 8:05 pm

Photo by Josh Kelly

Owensboro Innovation Academy graduated its fourth ever class on Sunday, with 75% of seniors this year earning college credit and three students finishing with a completed associate’s degree.

Christian Chappel was one of the three earning his associate’s before walking across the Owensboro Christian Church stage to receive his high school diploma.

Chappel said the alternative format of the school was especially helpful for him as he worked on the Engineering tract.

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“I really enjoyed how it was more hands-on than regular school was. All the projects we had were really neat and I was able to retain information a whole lot easier,” Chappel said.

He said the classes he took at the Academy prepared him for his time at Owensboro Community & Technical College. He said he knows the chance to do so ahead of time is an opportunity many don’t get, so he’s grateful for his experience at OIA.

Adding to the list of high accomplishments of the graduating class, they had the second-highest average ACT score in the region among public schools. They were also the first class to complete all four years of high school in the building.

OIA Director Beth Benjamin said nothing compares to the character of the students, thoguh. She described them as loyal, smart, funny, and especially trustworthy. As the class is just over 50 students, Benjamin said she’s had more than enough time to learn about each of them.

The most heartfelt speech of Sunday’s ceremony came from math facilitator Anne Webb. Through held-back tears, and chants of “We love you, Mrs. Webb” from the audience, she encouraged the students to be the author of their next chapter of life.

“I’ll be sad without you at OIA each day, but you are the author of the next chapter. Include me if need be, I thank each of you for adding joy to my life,” Webb said.

Before leaving the stage, Webb said under each chair students received a personalized card along with a slap bracelet with their initials on it.

According to Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Matthew Constant, the class is well acquainted with learning how to innovate education — and the big test for OIA came when the pandemic began.

Constant said each class from OIA has created a new definition of the word and this class’ definition is understandably different.

“You showed us with class and grace there are innovations for learning even inside a global pandemic; you have led us and continue to amaze all of us with your thinking and actions,” he said.

Graduate Cora Alward said that she is proud of the unique experience the Academy brought.

No Friday night lights. No pep rallies. No sporting events.

Instead, it brought robotics team practices, problem-solving, and their collective love for card games — which is how she equates her time at OIA.

“Life was a whole lot like a card game. The hand we were dealt is extremely unique to us,” Alward said. “Though someone might have a similar hand, no two hands are exactly the same. How we choose to play our cards as we go through life is completely up to us.”

May 23, 2022 | 12:09 am

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