Craft Academy aims to duplicate the success of Gatton Academy in eastern Ky.

08/31/2015 03:30 PM

MOREHEAD – The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics opened their doors this month to 60 Kentucky high school students in an effort to better meet the educational needs of gifted and talented high school juniors and seniors in the commonwealth.

The academy, patterned after the highly successful Gatton Academy on the campus of Western Kentucky University, received an appropriation of $ 2.3 million from state lawmakers, in an effort led by Senate President Robert Stivers and House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins. Billionaire businessman Joe Craft pledged $4 million in support of the Academy.

For students like Jeremy Webb of Louisa, who felt unchallenged as a student at Lawrence County High School, the academy allows him to truly fit in with his classmates.

“At Lawrence County, I was a nerd,” Webb said. “I was kind of an outcast. But here, everyone is like me and I’m surrounded by people who are like me every day.”

The idea to open the academy at Morehead was initiated by Senate President Robert Stivers, whose daughter Caroline traveled from Clay County to attend Gatton in Bowling Green from 2010-12.

“At the time she was the only student east of I-75 who attended Gatton,” Stivers said.

Stivers felt it was important to remove that distance barrier for the kids of eastern Kentucky by opening a similar academy in the eastern part of the state.

Dr. Carol Christian, director of the Craft Academy, had 114 applicants and interviewed 97 students before selecting 60 to comprise the inaugural class.

“The things we look for….obviously you have to have the minimum requirements, but we’re looking for stick-to-itiveness, persistence, maturity, the ability of a student to leave home 2 years early and come to the university,” Christian said.

Morehead State President Wayne Andrews sees the academy as a big benefit to his university as well.

“I’ve described it as a game changer because the reality of the situation is, we’re going to bring to Morehead State University ultimately 120 of Kentucky’s best and brightest students that are interested in science, technology, engineering and math,” Andrews said. “Some of those students will, of course, choose to stay here.”

Like Gatton, students attend the academy tuition free, which includes room and board. Many of the student’s home school districts also help with the cost of books.
When they graduate, they’ll get diplomas from the Craft Academy as well as their home high school.

For more information about the Craft Academy and to apply click here


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