On Friday, January 8, Rome City Schools hosted a special ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of the completion of their new College and Career Academy (CCA) building—a project that has long been anticipated by many members of the community.
Guests gathered outside of the 165,000 square foot building in celebration of this momentous occasion before touring the halls to see what all is in store for Rome High School students.
“We are super excited. You can tell that there is a feeling of anticipation in the building,” said Misty Tucker, Associate Principal of Rome High School and College and Career Academy. “Our students are beyond excited as well, as they have been coming over for weeks helping teachers set up their rooms. I know they are itching to finally get in here for class beginning next week.”
The RCS College and Career Academy will provide a space for students to complete 25 different educational pathways. The space will also help to support five dual enrollment opportunities. Pathways such as animation and digital media, culinary arts, engineering and technology, emergency services, general automotive technology, legal services, marketing, and communications are just a small sample of what will be offered.
Floyd Medical Center will also have a presence on the new campus. Rome City Schools shares a partnership with Floyd Medical Center that allows for support of academic and athletic programs. Now, Floyd will have a medical clinic at the CCA that will serve students and teachers who may need the help of a medical professional. Floyd also supports each school in the system by staffing one of their nurses at each school campus. Additionally, students who are interested in the medical field will have the opportunity to study at the new clinic and hopefully gain valuable experience necessary to go to work after high school.
To begin the ribbon cutting ceremony, Rome City Schools Superintendent, Louis Byars, welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers for the evening. The honored presenters were: Dr. Eric Holland, Principal of Rome High School; Mrs. Faith Collins, Chair of the Rome City Schools Board of Education; Mr. Bill Collins, Mayor of the City of Rome; Mr. Kurt Stuenkel, President and CEO of Floyd Medical Center and Mr. John Reid, District Athletic Director for Rome City Schools.
Each speaker spoke of “opportunity,” which Dr. Holland pointed out, was mentioned over 21 times. Rome High School students, from their freshman year until graduation, will be given many opportunities to explore their interests before transitioning into college or the workforce. Rome High School’s diverse pathway programs offer an opportunity to leave high school prepared for employment or to seek college-level study.
After each speaker, Rome City Schools Board of Education members and Superintendent Byars lined up in front of the building to cut the ribbon before welcoming members of the community inside to tour the new facility.
“This has been a five-year-long process that started out small but has expanded over time. However, this is what our students need to have the best opportunities before they graduate,” explained Byars. “We are excited about finally opening the doors of the CCA to our students and to our community. A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work, and we are just excited to finally get to let our community experience new ways we are working to enhance the education of Rome City Schools students.”
Once inside, visitors could find Rome High School students working diligently to prepare for the tour. From organizing rooms, handing out programs, giving tours to guests, to even filming the event for the audio-visual pathway, the pride in this building was evident among all.
Darlyn Morales is currently in the work-based learning program at Rome High School and is putting her knowledge from her CTAE pathway to good use. “Today is so exciting, because after I graduate from Rome High, I plan to follow my pathway into the real world and use what I have learned in my career. I want to work in film and having the opportunity to explore the different avenues of film—from editing to shooting—has given me a more solid idea of what I would like to do in the future.”
Morales explained that in the new building, students will have access to audio booths, editing bays, as well as their own space to be creative. “I am just so excited for myself and my classmates. We get to explore the options that this new space affords us,” said Morales.
Jamie Woods is also a film student at RHS who was beyond excited to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The CTAE film pathway is what helped me truly find my passion for filmmaking during my freshman year. Being here today is really big for me and for my peers, as it gives us so many new resources to continue pursuing our passions.”
“With this new building, we hope to offer plenty of opportunities for students to truly find their niche,” explained Tucker. “I think what we are most excited about is that this building is full of so many opportunities. When we think about CTAE, we think about opportunities.”
“Our mission statement is ‘All students will graduate from Rome High School prepared for college or work,’” said Dr. Holland. “I believe we have succeeded at preparing our students for college. However, this building is what is going to help us really prepare them for work. I am so excited for the opportunity that this building will provide for Rome High to meet the needs of all of our students.”