GASTON — Jessica Reid admits when she first started at KIPP Gaston College Preparatory, she didn’t want to be there.
“I felt like KIPP was just a waste of time,” she said.
Now a senior, Reid is not only proud of the education she has received, but also feels other students in the state should have access to a good education.
Reid and 77 members of the civics class at KIPP will be addressing the General Assembly in Raleigh at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday about their school’s success in narrowing the achievement gap in one of the most under-served rural regions of the state.
The presentation is open to the public and will take place in the North Carolina Legislative building auditorium, 16 West Jones Street in Raleigh.
If Senate Bill 8 is approved, it would remove the 100-school cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state. It would also establish a Public Schools Charter School Commission and make it easier for charter schools to expand enrollments.
The state Senate passed the bill, and it is now in the House.
“I feel like this is the greatest,” Reid said. “We feel every child in North Carolina should have the opportunity to have a quality education. It should be accessible to everyone.”
She added she gets emotional when she sees children not able to get a good education.
Senior Andrew Sanguillen said a lot of responsibility is being placed on them, but they are prepared and ready.
“Our influence could change whether they pass or not pass the bill,” he said.
Junior Rebeccah Batts is looking forward to telling her story and representing charter schools.
Batts came from another county to become a student at KIPP.
Her only regret is when she passed up an opportunity to attend the school in the fifth grade.
She joined the school for 10th grade.
“It’s been eye-opening,” she said. “I see how I was then and how I am now. I see how much I’ve grown.”
Founded in 2001 by Caleb Dolan and Tammi Sutton, KIPP Gaston College Preparatory was one of the first KIPP charter schools in the country.
The school has more than 600 students in grades fifth through 12th and is one of the highest performing public schools in the state.
The first two graduating classes had 100 percent of the seniors accepted into at least one college or university.
Sutton said having the students speak will allow legislators to learn more about the experiences of actual charter school students.
“I am extremely proud of the students,” she said.
“They are not only advocating for charter schools, but also for educational opportunities for everyone.”
After their return, Sutton said they will keep tabs on how the bill is doing.
Batts said she hopes they can stress what has been instilled in them at KIPP.
“At KIPP, we are not only prepared to get into college, but also to graduate,” Batts said.
While in Raleigh, local students will tour the capital, have a criminal law discussion with an attorney and have dinner with legislators and members of the Wake County Board of Education.