Just like Goldilocks, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Academy students and staff have finally found a home that is just right.
The new school, formerly Lincoln Heights, celebrated its opening at a dedication on Oct. 23. The renamed and relocated school, built with funds from the 2017 bond, will continue to serve K-12 Exceptional Children. The school design helps students with special needs to learn in a comfortable, safe environment with minimal distractions. Smaller settings give a more personalized experience where teachers can provide the behavioral and academic supports needed.
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Academy exemplifies the district’s belief that our students are what matter most,” said Earnest Winston, superintendent. “We believe that every student in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools can, and will, learn.”
Woven into every part of the event was the sentiment of renewal, rebirth and redemption. Several students and a teacher spoke about the school’s mascot — the phoenix — and its profound meaning. Teacher Kenneth Rowland said he tells his students that the past cannot be changed and it is behind them, but together they can change their futures. Those words resonated.
“When I got here, I was a hothead. I didn’t listen to anyone, but when the staff and teachers opened their wings to me, they showed me a brighter path,” said Zephaniah Morrison, an eighth-grader. “I am a respectful, kind and responsible young man. I learned that things are going to be hard but when you let people help you, you can spread your wings very wide and fly.”
Chazmin Crew, a ninth grader, also expressed how being at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Academy has helped her improve as a student and understand herself better.
“You rise above the ashes,” she said. “This means rising above your former self and reaching your true potential.”
The ceremony also featured remarks from Principal Katherine Willenbrock and Elyse Dashew, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education vice-chairperson, and a musical selection of Lean on Me by the school’s choir.