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8th grade students explore high school possibilities during visit to West Side Leadership Academy

Last week, the 8th grade students from Gary Middle School for the Visual and Performing Arts and Bailly STEM Academy took an exclusive tour of West Side Leadership Academy (WSLA) to explore the endless opportunities available at the city’s only public high school.  The students were greeted with a warm welcome from administration, counselors and student ambassadors and were introduced to high school offerings in the areas of academics, extra-curricular activities, fine arts, and Gary Area Career Center curriculum pathways.

“Going to high school can be exciting but at the same time intimidating, so we want our scholars to be prepared for their freshman year,” said Kerchell Hopson, Director of Secondary Education. “In our middle schools, the scholars have a focus on STEM (at Bailly STEM Academt) or the arts (at Gary Middle School). When they come to West Side, they will have the amazing opportunity to study both and even enroll at the career center. How exciting!”

In addition to the academic offerings, the students learned about the ever-growing list of extra-curricular activities available at WSLA. From sports teams to clubs and organizations, the student ambassadors talked about the many ways incoming students can get involved in school life and pursue their passions.

To conclude the tour, students from the band, dance company, choir and drama departments at WSLA delivered captivating mini-performances on the main stage.

“Through this initiative program, we are building a bridge between the current and future WSLA cougars,” said Carl Scott, Principal at West Side Leadership Academy. “When the students see and experience the environment for themselves, they have something to look forward to and will have familiar faces greeting them in the fall.”

Enrollment at all Gary schools has already begun. For more information and to complete the enrollment process, visit

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