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Students learn variety of trades
It's been smooth sailing so far at Golden Isles Career Academy since school started Aug. 8. Enrollment is up at the Glynn County school, and students have been learning since Day One.

Principal Senetra Haywood says 465 students of the 480 expected for fall semester attended the first day of school. Of those students, the majority are juniors and seniors from Brunswick High School and Glynn Academy, but more than 100 sophomores and just fewer than 50 freshman are at the school.

"Not only is enrollment up, but we're seeing the numbers start to increase at each grade level, as well," Haywood said.

These students have a range of opportunities during the day, divided into four blocks. Among them are classes in health care, welding, broadcast video and agriculture.

Some students spend only part of the day at the school and the other part at their home high school, while others spend the entire day there after being bused from their high schools.

About 42 students are also a part of the dual enrollment program through Altamaha Technical College, taking classes in culinary studies, cosmetology, criminal justice, certified nursing assistant or heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Students also have a chance to take classes on e2020, an online system, with help from a teacher, Haywood said.

In one of teacher Amy Stalvey's Agriculture I classes, some girls are holding baby rabbits, some are handling a ball python, and one student lets Tootsie Roll, a mouse, climb on his shoulders.

"A lot of the students I have think they'd like to be veterinarians someday, and this is a great chance for them to be hands-on, finding out if this is right for them," Stalvey said.

"For some, it helps them overcome fears, and, for others, it helps them know this isn't what they want to do. Sometimes eliminating an option is just as important as finding a new one."

Rick Townsend, chief executive of the school, says teachers like Stalvey and the eager students in her class are what makes the school work.

"Students are doing a good job out here, because they want to be out here. That makes our jobs easier," he said. "We might have a state-of-the-art facility, but it's the people inside it that make it special."

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