Gatton Academy celebrates 10th year with their largest enrollment

09/15/2016 04:50 PM

BOWLING GREEN – This school year marks the 10th anniversary for the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, and the institution currently has its largest enrollment in history.

Last month, 100 juniors and 60 seniors moved back into Florence Schneider Hall which underwent renovation for a year to accommodate up to 200 students, thanks to private and state money to expand the capacity of the building.

The academy, one of Kentucky’s two residential high schools where juniors and seniors interested in pursuing advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, take college classes instead of spending their junior and senior years in traditional high schools, has received numerous awards in its first nine years including being named the top public high school in the nation for three years in a row by Newsweek and The Daily Beast from 2012 to 2014.

Dr. Lynette Breedlove, who is beginning her third year as director of the Gatton Academy, says that students who attend Gatton tend to have similar characteristics.

“A strong Gatton student is someone who has a thirst for learning, they have a need to learn things, and they are constantly pursuing new information and new opportunities to learn,” Breedlove said.

The renovations included more rooms to house students as well as a new great room which is used as a study hall as well as a place to accommodate seminars.

Beth Hawke, Assistant Director of Student Life, notes one significant change that has occurred in the nine plus years history of the academy is the fact that more students are going to college outside of Kentucky.

“Largely, a lot of that has been the foundation laid by those Gatton students that went before them,” Hawke said. “As students have been successful and went forward into other schools, our current students and future students will benefit from that. We’ve seen of shift of about 60 percent will matriculate in-state, and 40 percent out, to now, our class of 2015, was the first that more went out of state, instead of in-state.

Now that the Gatton Academy has become more widely known by students across the commonwealth, the race to get accepted into the program has gotten more competitive.

Assistant Director of Admissions Zack Ryle says before he arrived in November 2014, the average number of completed applications was 175.

This past year, the number had risen to 231 to fill approximately 95 spots.

Ryle travels the state to let students know about the Gatton experience, and what he’s looking for in a potential candidate.

“A student has to interest in STEM, that is one of the first things we look for,” Ryle said. “We want someone who is going to work hard, we want someone who is going to be able to do the work once they get here and fit into the community.”

On Friday’s edition of Pure Politics, we’ll spotlight the students who explain what the Gatton experience is all about, as well let you in on a tradition that involves the seniors the night before they graduate.


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