Groundbreaking for freshmen academy at E. Ascension HS
GONZALES - School officials and area leaders broke ground for East Ascension High School's new freshmen academy.
"We have to deal with two things, one we want a great facility that our students can learn and grow in, and we also have an issue with overcrowding in our schools," said Patrice Pujol, superintendent of the Ascension Public School System.
The parish welcomed 600 new students this year alone. More than 1,800 are enrolled at East Ascension High School - 500 of which are freshmen.
"We keep getting more and more kids," said Pujol.
Accommodating the influx of students hasn't been easy, and they've been placed many of them in makeshift classrooms.
"They once occupied an entire hall in the main building, and now they reside in what we call the village," said Traci McCorkle, principal at East Ascension High School.
The new campus, worth approximately $12 million, will be located right next to the main building and should be ready by the next school year.
But according to Pujol, it will provide more than just extra space, "if students make a strong transition into high school, the research shows that they'll be likely to graduate school."
Ascension parish has a graduation rate of 88%, which is well above the state average of 75%.
East Ascension High School is the second school to break ground for its new freshmen academy. St. Amant High School was the second, and Dutchtown High School is set to have a similar ceremony.