Cole Bell, an academically gifted WCHS sophomore, was chosen to attend Morehead State University’s Craft Academy for his junior and senior years. Craft Academy is a residential duel-credit school for students who are high achieving in science and math – essentially, the program allows students to complete two years of college as well as finish high school, simoutaneously, on Morehead’s campus.
There are several factors that go into the selection of which students can attend the program. Applicants have to have finished geometry, algebra I and algebra II by the end of their sophomore year to even be eligible, as excellence in math is a must for Craft students. ACT scores, grades during high school years, and answers to both interview and application questions are also used to gauge a student’s readiness to attend the program. Letters of recommendation and interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and/or math are also required.
Essentially, Craft Academy gives students the best of both worlds. Students will have access to campus activities and groups, such as clubs and group-based organizations. They will also have access to high school events – such as prom and graduation (though attending students can still participate in such events in their home towns). They will be housed in Morehead’s Grote-Thompson Hall, paired with a roommate of the same gender with similar interests as themselves. The program is virtually free, as students only have to pay for their books. WCHS covered the cost of Cole’s books.
“I think it’s a good opportunity and I feel like I can do it,” Cole stated on the matter of attending Craft. “And it’s two years of free college – I’m not gonna turn that down.” When Cole graduates from Craft, he will have completed two years of college as well as have finished his high school education.
Prior to his acceptance into Craft, Cole had an extensive background in non-academic and academic extracurricular activities, going above and beyond expectations. He participated in two years of marching band as well as five years of concert band, playing the INSERT. He participated in both the Middle and High School Academic Teams. He was thoroughly involved in STLP through the Gifted and Talented program, and attended state for the four years prior to his acceptance. There he won competitions using Scratch, an online coding system, and even became a Scratch Ambassador – a student teacher helping run a Scratch booth at State. He also participated in the Technology Student Association, competing at both regional and state level for two years.
The program kicked off in August. Like college life, students in Craft live on and stay at Morehead’s campus. They are, of course, able to come home for weekends and holiday breaks. For Cole, son of Monica and David Bell and one of five children, this was a big change. “I have to thank my parents for even letting me come,” he said when asked about leaving home. “I know I should have been at home with them for two more years, and now it’s like they’ve sent me to college already.”
Cole’s every day is like that of most college student's. Attending two classes on Mondays and Fridays, three on Wednesdays, and three on Tuesdays and Thursdays, his schedule stays very academically-oriented. Most of his time is spent with other Craft kids or students in attendance at Morehead that he knows. “Seven to nine in the afternoon are mandatory study hours in our rooms,
Cole said about his workload. “Which sounds pretty annoying at first, but it’s pretty darn helpful. It’s guaranteed two hours of quiet time that has little to no noise. You can get all of your work done.”
After the two years of Craft and his “senior” graduation, Cole plans to transfer to Western Kentucky University; already at Craft he will be studying engineering, and intends to finish his studies there. Upon college graduation Cole plans to really enter the computer engineering field with a high-end job. Already having an INSERT on the ACT, he’s fast on track to excelling at Craft and in his future goals.
The Wayne County School District is proud to have another current high school student, Natalie Hutchinson, who is a senior, attending Craft. In addition, Ben Rose graduated as Wayne County's first Craft Academy graduate this past school year.
To qualify for Craft Academy, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a current resident of Kentucky
- Be a high school sophomore
- Have completed geometry, algebra I, and algebra II
- Score a minimum of 18 – English, 22 – Reading, 22 – Math on the ACT
Applications for the class of 2021 opened on August 1st and will remain open until February 1st, 2019. Students need access to their official high school transcript, ACT test scores, answers to five essay questions on the application,and three letters of recommendation (one of which must be written by school personnel and at least one written by a community member).
For more information on Craft Academy and how to apply, click here!
WCHS student Cole Bell was chosen to attend Craft Academy