Whale Branch school a success, not a 'fiasco'

info@islandpacket.comDecember 4, 2012 

At Thursday's community meeting at Bluffton High School, I felt a great sense of pride and concern from participants, who offered a number of ideas and suggestions.

I was saddened, however, by the derogatory remark made by a Bluffton High School student regarding, as he put it, the Whale Branch "fiasco." The comment was unfounded as well.

Whale Branch Early College High School is one of our county's best assets. Enrollment, which stands at 650, has grown by about 100 students since the school opened in 2010. In 2012, 125 students earned their diplomas in the first graduating class for an on-time graduation rate of 81 percent.

One out of every four graduating seniors last spring had taken college courses through a partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, and two seniors graduated from the technical college before they received their high school diplomas. That translates into money those families will not have to pay for higher education.

Athletics are soaring at the school. Daily attendance, participation in after-school clubs, arts and music classes and grade-point averages are all excelling. Discipline problems are minimal because students have an amazing amount of pride in their school.

Just as the staff, students and parents from the Bluffton schools feel great pride, so do the staff, students and parents of Whale Branch Early College High School. There is no fiasco at Whale Branch. Check it out for yourself. I think you'll be amazed.

Julie C. Bell, District 2

Beaufort County

Board of Education

Hilton Head Island

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