By Heather Dinwiddie – The Daily Dispatch
“The Pride of 2019” is the name of the first class of the new Henderson Collegiate Charter School, Principal and Founder Eric Sanchez said as he and fellow supporters began construction with a groundbreaking ceremony early Thursday.
The year 2019 is when the first students of Henderson Collegiate Charter School will graduate from high school and possibly go off to college.
As he addressed fellow supporters, Sanchez said the children are “the true trailblazers” of the school.
Sanchez is starting the school with only fourth graders and will add a grade every year.
Sanchez and his wife, co-founder Carice Cantelupe Sanchez, first had the idea for the school while they were still Teach for America instructors about a year and a half ago. Eric Sanchez formerly taught at Eaton-Johnson Middle School. Carice Sanchez taught at Pinkston Street Elementary.
Eric Sanchez said that Henderson Collegiate is only concentrating on fourth-graders “with the purpose of bringing them up and accelerating their learning by focusing on them at a young age.”
When Carice Sanchez addressed supporters Thursday morning, she said she will “teach a kid how to be trustworthy.” She will serve as dean of instruction and will teach reading.
About 110 students and six teachers will bring the new school to life in the fall. There are about nine employees at the school. However, Sanchez considers all of them to be teachers.
Construction on the school, which is being done by Modern South, is expected to be complete by mid-August. The school will be temporarily located in two modular buildings across from Green-Bullock Assisted Living on 1000 Health Care Center Road and will be 8,000 square feet each. According to Eric Sanchez, the total price of getting the buildings in and preparing the site is $200,000. The amount includes grading of the land, a parking lot, decking, electrical and plumbing work and the fire alarm and security system.
Once the groundbreaking ceremony was over, construction workers began showing up to make the Sanchezes’ dream a reality.
When asked what her goal is for Henderson Collegiate, Carice Sanchez said that “100 percent of the kids will go to a college of their choice.”
The Sanchezes are considering a permanent location in the future Zene Street Project — transforming a former 86,000 square foot tobacco warehouse into a community, educational, medical and retail center.
According to Eric Sanchez, moving to the Zene Street Project could occur in the school’s fourth year.
Parents who were present at the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday said they couldn’t wait for the school to open in August.
“We’re excited that when they (the children) leave here, they will have two college credits such as Spanish 1 and Algebra 1,” Merlene McCall said. “This is a stepping stone.”
McCall is the mother of prospective student, 9-year-old A.J. McCall.