The Escambia Academy administration and faculty opened the schoolhouse doors Thursday, March 9, and invited the community inside.
The school’s open house provided an opportunity for families who might be considering the school to get an up close and personal look. But as it turned out, it was also a celebration of sorts by the administration and by the teachers in the classrooms.
Headmaster Wade Heigle addressed the assembly first, welcoming everyone and giving a little background on himself in his first year at the helm. He is in his 25th year in education and worked across five states getting to EA.
“This is a place easy to fall in love with,” he said. “This is a family friendly environment to get an education. We’re proud of what the school offers … We’ve got people who care and great kids who want to be involved and do things.”
EA’s enrollment is now at more than 260. The school is SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) Advanced Education accredited, which means EA is required to have level of certified teachers and meet rigorous standards.
“We are proud of our kids, our academics, our teachers, and our environment,” Heigle said. “We are here this evening because we want to grow.”
Even though the school looks to increase enrollment, they plan to maintain the advantages of a small school – especially as it pertains to individual students.
“You can get a great education at any school,” Heigle said. “At the same time, you could go down the wrong road. When a student goes down a wrong path here, however, it’s hard for no one to know.”
Assistant Headmaster and Head Coach Hugh Fountain echoed Heigle’s comments.
“You have people here who will help your kids on the right path,” he said.
Fountain said EA is a welcoming school because 90 percent of the students came from someplace else.
He touched on some of the strengths of the school. Parents are active and are advocates for their children. Students want to be involved and participate in activities.
“I would say 100 percent of our kids here participate in something,” Fountain said.
Chairman of the EA Board Mike Campbell talked about the number of graduates last year (28), the average ACT score (22), and the amount of scholarships ($1.5 million).
His family lives in Bay Minette and his sons attend EA. It is, as Campbell said, worth the trip.
Speaking on behalf of the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, Andy Ryan talked briefly about school choice, tax credit scholarships, and need-based scholarships. Priority is given to students who transfer from a failing school.
Following the presentation in the auditorium, everyone was invited to tour the classrooms and meet the teachers.