At the end of the next school year, the first graduating class of Roanoke Valley Early College will set a standard for all Weldon City Schools students to emulate.

With back-to-back recognitions as a School of Distinction, the school’s 2014 graduating seniors will finish with a high school diploma and either an associate degree or two years of transferable credits to a four-year university or college.

The early college is housed on the campus of Halifax Community College.

To attend, students have to maintain a C or higher within Weldon City Schools and keep good grades in their college courses and complete community service, which is a requirement for graduation. Only ninth graders were accepted at the school when this school year began.

The push for greater results within the traditional public school district is yielding growth throughout Weldon’s school system.

The district ranked first in the Roanoke Valley with an 85.3 percent graduation rate among traditional high schools based on 2011-12 scores.

The Weldon City Schools graduation rate was the fifth highest of 21 Northeast Region 4 districts.

While pleased with the rate, school officials are focused on those not succeeding.

“We are excited our graduation rate continues to improve,” said Superintendent Dr. Elie Bracy III. “We are looking at the work that needs to be done for the 14.7 percent not graduating in the four-year period.”

Two other Weldon schools — Weldon STEM High and Weldon Middle schools — met expected growth last year.

Still two academic years away from the first early college graduation, Weldon City Schools is laying a blueprint for academic success.

Any help the community can provide to continue recent accomplishments and encourage the improvement of the under performing will only buoy the success already shown in Weldon.

Stephen Hemelt, managing editor

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