Academy of Innovation students celebrate first day in new building

Published 4:18 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

There were many firsts when students attending the Academy of Innovation entered the school on Friday. 

It was the first day of a new school year. It would be the first time they would have classes in the new facility on Rosa A. Temple Drive and for the 7th graders, it would be their first experience as junior high students. 

Fortunately, many of the students had the opportunity to shake off first-day jitters at the Back-to-School Open House on Thursday. 

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During the event, students and their parents got to meet teachers and administration all while checking out the state-of-the-art facility. 

“It’s just so much more open and a lot bigger and brighter. Overall it looks completely better,” AOI student Cambria Lasalle said, describing her reaction when walking into the new school for the first time. 

Lasalle, who will be in the 8th grade, attended AOI last year when it was housed in the old Grove Street school building. 

In addition to being impressed by seeing her new school, Lasalle said, she was also happy to see her teachers. 

“I was excited when I saw all the teachers and I felt like I was welcomed all over again,” she said. 

“Wow,” was how Austin Sumrall, who will be in the 8th grade, described his first reaction to the new school. 

“It is just so different than the old school, and I am so excited I am coming here,” he said. 

George Washington, a 7th-grade student, concurred with Sumrall about attending AOI. 

“I feel great I get to go to the school,” Washington said. 

Tamla Turner, who is a parent of an 8th-grade student that will be attending AOI, said she was just as impressed with the new school as were the students. 

“This is amazing,” Turner said. “It’s so nice and spacious and I think the kids are really lucky to be here,” she said. 

AOI focuses on student-centered learning, and those who attend must first apply and then meet the needed requirements for the rigorous and technologically enhanced curriculum. 

William Furlong, an 8th-grade math teacher at AOI, said he is looking forward to teaching in the new facility. 

“This space is incredible and while the old building was such a cool space and it was nice to teach at a more traditional school, this will offer students a whole new concept for learning,” Furlong said. 

During the open house, no one could have been more excited than Jason McKellar, the school’s principal. 

“Everybody seemed super excited, and I heard a lot of ‘Oh wows,’” McKellar said, as he welcomed the students and their parents into the new building for the first time.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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