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As students and parents lined up at the Wilson Preparatory Academy’s front door, school founder and executive director Daryl Woodard stepped out into the crowd a couple minutes before the opening bell on the first day of school.
Woodard shook hands, bumped fists and welcomed everyone to the new year.
“We are extremely excited,” Woodard said. “We are going to have a record number of scholars here for our sixth school year.”
The school expects to have more than 900 students this year. In 2018-19, Wilson Prep had 849 students.
Earlier this year, the charter school held its first commencement and graduated 45 seniors.
“We have already had our first graduating class, so now we are going to have our second year of K-12 and we are ready to just take everything to a whole new level,” Woodard said.
The Wilson Prep campus has 54,000 square feet of facilities on 77 acres located at 2755 Tilghman Road. The school is currently building a $750,000 athletic complex for baseball, softball, soccer and track.
“We are in the North Carolina Athletic Association, so we are an official 1-A school in the state of North Carolina for athletics,” Woodard said.
The North Carolina Board of Education granted a 10-year charter school agreement for Wilson Preparatory Academy on March 7. WPA received its initial charter Jan. 9, 2014, and opened as a K-8 public charter school in August 2014. Wilson Prep became a K-12 public charter school for 2018-19.