The ABCs of charter schools
Westlake Academy’s first graduating class was in the 2009-10 school year.
Now, a decade later, the school has soundly established itself as one of the top academic schools in Texas and the United States.
The Westlake 2019 graduating class ranks 13th in the state and 30th among charter schools across the U.S. in a report by “U.S. News & World Report.” Among all schools, private, public, and charter, Westlake ranks 116th academically.
“We’re very proud of the class of 2019. We’re well on our way to achieving the vision the board of trustees and town council set out when we started this process more than 15 years ago when the school first opened its doors,” Westlake Superintendent Amanda DeGan said. “With each successful class of graduates the impact of the school and the education they’re being provided is being felt across the globe.”
The 2019 class is highlighted by AP Scholars and National Merit Semifinalists, being awarded with more than $1.5 million in scholarship money — and still counting.
Among the schools graduates will be attending are the likes of Ivy League colleges Princeton and Brown, along with Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins, to name just a few. Class of 2019 valedictorian and Westlake resident Sahejbir Bhatia will be attending Duke University, while salutatorian Macy Orman, a Westlake student since kindergarten, will attend Texas A&M.
In fact, all 65 graduates were accepted into college.
“It may be somewhat of a cliched idea to say that we’re like a family, but in this case that’s the exact way to describe it,” Bhatia said. “There’s always going to be this connection with us. Those connections will never be lost.”
Graduating ceremonies were held recently at the Hurst Conference Center. The commencement speaker was national award-winning radio personality and author Mark Louis, better known as “Hawkeye,” of FM 96.3 KSCS.
“I hope if the graduates of Westlake Academy remember one thing about my address, it’s how their teachers changed their life,” Louis said. “Many years from now, they will still realize the impact they have had on them.”
Westlake spokesman Jon Sasser said, “Compared to just five years ago in the 2014-2015 year where Westlake Academy wasn’t ranked in any of the categories, we’ve seen tremendous success both locally and nationally in a very short period of time.”
The school has also grown over the past decade from 491 students in kindergarten through 12th grade to 869 this school year.
“Westlake Academy is an IB World School (International Baccalaureate) whose mission is to provide students with an internationally minded education of the highest quality so they are well-balanced and respectful life-long learners,” Sasser said. “We think we’ve accomplished a lot in such a short time, and there’s more to come.”
The 2019 graduating class included two National Merit Finalists, six National Merit Commended, two National Merit Scholarships, and two National Hispanic Scholars. Of the class, 65% were either an AP Scholar, AP Scholar with Honors, or an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Also, 75% applied and were accepted to a college/university through an Early Admissions Program.
Notable schools (less than 25 percent acceptance rate) that admitted 2019 graduates include Brown, Cornell, Georgia Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Northwestern, Princeton, Rice, UCLA, University of Chicago, USC, Vanderbilt, and Yale.