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AOBI offers “amazing” night at open house

October 4, 2018

FORT MOHAVE — Jean Thomas promised visitors to Wednesday’s open house at Academy of Building Industries High School an “amazing” night highlighting the school’s programs and activities.

The academy has two sides to it: the “regular” high school atmosphere in which students study English, math and history, and its signature construction trades spaces, where they design, repair and build things.

“I have very high expectations for these kids,” Thomas, the principal, said. “Not just vocationally, but also academically.”

Perhaps the centerpiece of the evening was the STEAM garden, a school bus that students are converting into a greenhouse. Thomas said the plan is to grow vegetables in the bus, which will be the source of daily lunchtime salads.

The students will be using earth science, environmental science, biology and agriculture during the project.

“It’s pretty amazing, and these kids have worked really, really hard,” Thomas said.

AOBI has been named a finalist for Green Business of the Year at the Oct. 27 Community Achievement Awards.

In the vocational areas, students discussed their projects with visitors. They included engine repair, woodworking and 3-D printing.

In the academic classrooms, guests were treated to a game of “Not Family Feud” in social studies and a rap battle between Pythagoras of Samos (portrayed by Devon Silva) and Euclid (Justice Bowers) in math.

The evening also included raffles and door prizes, with some

student-made items to be won.

Thomas said that enrollment at AOBI is capped at 125, “with a very long waiting list.”

Three of those students are sons of Kiayah Water whose oldest son, Jaron, started at the school because he needed to make up some credits, she said.

“As soon as he got here, he just had a great rest of the year,” Water said.

Those results led her to enroll her other sons.

“At this school, they’re able to work their jobs and get their academics in,” Water said.

Michele Tennyson is the parent of a freshman at AOBI.

“(It’s) more geared toward hands-on stuff,” she said. “It has more to offer than our traditional high schools,” with its construction trades classes.

“The small class sizes are a little more family friendly,” Tennyson continued.

Thomas said that parents and family members were invited, as were school board members and business partners. So many people showed up that students were sent scrambling for extra chairs.

“We’ve never had a turnout like this before,” Thomas said. “It proves to me that it’s time to expand and serve more kids.”

That’s a challenge.

“We burst at the seams at 125,” she said. “We need facilities. We’re looking at several different options, including community involvement and donations and financing.”

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