New Academy in Albemarle Co. Ready for First Year with Generous Gift

Aug. 18, 2014

School is back in session Wednesday for Charlottesville and Albemarle County Public Schools.

This year, Western Albemarle High School is inaugurating a new environmental studies academy.

On Monday, The Verizon Foundation gave the new academy a $10,000 grant toward its "Going Off the Grid with Verizon" program which is geared toward educating students about solar and alternative energies.

As a whole, the new Environmental Studies Academy will focus on quality of life issues across the globe, embracing a wide range of scientific, technical and research capabilities and offering students an edge in the fast-growing fields of environmental science.

"I think the most important thing that we can do is to development conscientious young people that are stewards of their community and of their environment, that they understand that they are part of a bigger picture and that the things that they do and how they affect the environment matter and that they can make a difference," said Adam Mulcahy, the academy's director.

Incoming freshman and academy participant, James Mahoney added, "I think that by being able to learn more about what I'm interested in, it'll help me narrow down the choices and figure out what I really want to do for a living when I get to that age."

Accepted students will spend all four years of high school in the academy.

In this pilot year, around 25 students will participate with that number eventually growing to about 200.

Mulcahy said next year, a greenhouse will be built and installed and thanks to grants like the one from Verizon on Monday, students will be able to enjoy many other new technologies and state-of-the-art resources through the years.

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