Huddled in a small auditorium at Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School, educators and community members celebrated all that has been achieved in the school’s short history in a building dedication ceremony Saturday.
The school opened its doors at Augusta Technical College on Jan. 3, 2013, after months at the old Lamar Elementary School building on Baker Avenue.
Its focus is to urge students to choose a career path in order to meet the demands of workforces in the future.
Now that the school has begun its third year, outgoing Superintendent Frank Roberson said it’s fitting to call Richmond County Board of Education members soothsayers.
“Their vision for this particular institution was on target,” he said. “This is a sweet spot, and this board had the vision to see that this would be needed for such a time as this.”
Attendees heard from several speakers touting the school’s mission of “creating a world-class school with world-class leaders.”
“I am very grateful to be the person to carry the torch to make this vision become a reality,” Principal Renee Kelly said. “Our goal is not just to impact the CSRA, but to impact the world.”
Kelly said the school has remained true to its mission of preparing students for their future careers by setting them up for success early on. Last year, the school tested 110 of its sophomores for joint enrollment at area colleges. Of that number, 53 qualified and 40 are set to begin the program.
After the ceremony, attendees were free to roam the expansive structure, which had projects completed by students littered throughout.
In one wing sat two electric-powered cars built from scrap. In another, rockets big and small filled a display case.
Mayor-elect Hardie Davis, a product of the Richmond County school system, said even though he’s visited the school several times, he is amazed at how far teaching has come since he graduated from Hephzibah High School in 1987. He said it wasn’t until he attended Georgia Tech that he was exposed to the lessons Technical Career Magnet students receive today.
“I didn’t get that experience when I graduated,” he said. “Knowing that we have that in place here in Richmond County schools is just fantastic. It puts them light years ahead of where we were in 1987.”
Davis said the school will serve as a model for other systems throughout the state while being a catalyst for more programs in the surrounding area.
“What’s going on now is just amazing,” he said. “When you think about what’s taking place here at TCM and the students that they’re going to graduate in 2016, we’re going to be preparing a workforce that will meet the needs of our students long-term.”