Just shy of the organization’s 5-year anniversary, Western Academy at the Neblett on Friday opened the doors to its new building at 417 Elm Street. Executive Director Olga McKissic said it shows an example of what God has ahead for the program.
“I (envision) that we’re going to be connected more to the public schools, we’re going to expand out to other counties, and that eventually this is going to be a school for students of African-American descent,” she said.
The feat of opening the school was not a solo project, she said. Ground broke on the space in October with Jagoe Homes helping, and financial aid came from Impact100 Owensboro.
The building, which sits at the corner of Elm and West 5th streets across from the H.L. Neblett Community Center, is 1,300 square feet and contains two classrooms plus an office for McKissic. The classrooms come complete with touchscreen monitors and dry-erase desks for the students.
The Academy now accepts students from 3rd-12th grade and aims to teach the scholars — as they are referred to in the program — numerous lessons about self-esteem, brotherhood, proper behavior, and the fact they are able to be whatever they want.
The Academy does this by taking the students through academic enrichment experiences while also allowing them to volunteer and explore the community in different ways.
The Academy was named after Western High School, the segregated all-Black high school that operated from the early 1900s to 1962. Western High School’s location was on the corner of Elm and 3rd streets.