MILWAUKEE — A charter school in Milwaukee is growing --welcoming its first freshman class.
In just three years, Milwaukee Excellence High School, a charter school through MPS, achieved the number one rank in the city, and the goal is for the high school to continue to do the same.
Not only are students expected to score at least a 24 on their ACT, but the school is also on a mission to dispel myths about black teens.
"Our very first class was just sixth graders," Maurice Thomas, Founder and Executive Director, said.
Thomas, said transitioning his students from the middle school to high school is what he's always hoped for.
"I hope Milwaukee excellence can prove and dispel some of these myths people say about black kids between the ages of 14 and 18," Thomas said.
Milwaukee Excellence started with just one grade level, and grows a grade level each year. The high school is an extension of the middle school -a school that was the number one ranked in the city of Milwaukee and number 23 in the state just last year.
Areyanna Watkins was in the school's very first sixth grade class. She's now one of the school's first freshmen.
"Milwaukee excellence is like another home, it's welcoming, when you walk in the door you just feel like you're at home," Watkins said.
Watkins has a heavy course load with six classes including biology and coding -a class required for all students. She wants to pursue a career as a neo-natologist, and while a lot of high schools preach college, high school principal, Lita Mallett said she instead encourages choice.
"The idea is that you have choices over your life, and not just 'Oh, I'm not going to go to college because I can't because my grades weren't there because I wasn't prepared because I didn't have the tools and resources to get there.' Those are two very different things," Mallet said.
Thomas also notes Milwaukee Excellence High School is one of the first high schools to open on the north side of Milwaukee in about seven years.