Contributed By: The 411 News
Gary Middle College is helping to lift the face of downtown Gary. At Thursday’s ribbon cutting, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said, “The city is so pleased to have the school’s expansion right here in the downtown community. It shows the future is happening right here, in the footprint of city hall and the soon to be renovated Hudson-Campbell Fitness Center.”
For most of its short history, the school opened in 2012, students attended classes in 2 trailers next door to 21st Century Charter School @ Gary, the K-12 school at 5th and Washington. Its new home is the newly remodeled 5,000 sq. feet first floor of the Dalton Building at 131 E 5th Avenue.
Those sparse quarters did not hinder the school’s growth said Marques Culver, student spokes man and soon to be graduate. “The first year in 2013, the school graduated 11 students. It rose to 27 students in the 2013-14 year; and 69 students in the 2014-15 year.”
Culver will receive his high school diploma in January and intends on enrolling at Ivy Tech Community College to earn an Associate’s Degree in business.
He represents what Joe Arrendondo, GMC principal says is the typical Gary Middle College student. “There is no typical Gary Middle College student. They are the 16-18 year olds who don’t fit into the traditional high school setting. They are like Culver, age 32 and those older, coming back to get their high school diplomas.”
Appealing to many of GMC’s students is the opportunity to get their Associate’s Degree while earning their high school diploma. The school has a partnership with Ivy Tech that offers free tuition, free books and transportation for students.
That same offer extends to high school students at 21st Century Charter School. Amreen Vora, 21st Century spokesperson, said 7 high school students will graduate with a high school diploma and Associate’s Degree from Ivy Tech this year. Senior Raven Osbourne earned her Associate’s 2 years ago as a sophomore. She will earn her high school diploma and bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Northwest at the same time.