New Academy's Students Are Prepped for Learning

Students selected to attend a new college-preparatory public academy are yearning for classes to begin.

"It'll be tough," said 12-year-old Ryan Palmer of Cypress, who wants to be a medical doctor and recently registered for classes. "It's a real strict school. But kids who want to learn will be here--not the kids who want to goof around."

Parents also are eager to have their children attend Oxford Academy in Cypress, the first-ever college-prep school offered through Anaheim Union High School District.

"We're excited about it--and we're prepared to make the commute every day," said Patti Roggenkamp, an east Anaheim resident whose 12-year-old twins, Lauri and Bill, will be attending the academy.

About $1 million has been spent to reopen the 38-year-old school, formerly a junior high closed by the district in 1980 because of declining enrollment, Principal Tom Peters said. The district most recently leased the campus to a Christian school, which moved in June.

Over the summer, the district has made several improvements, including adding high-tech equipment, painting classrooms, and buying furniture and books.

Classes begin Sept. 10; the school held a dedication ceremony Wednesday.

Students who wanted to attend the academy were given an entrance exam. About 800 students applied and 700 took the exam. Of those who tested, 550 students were eligible to attend the academy. About 400 of the eligible seventh- and eighth-graders were randomly selected.

By 2002, up to 1,000 students in grades seven to 12 will attend the academy.

Students, who will wear uniforms and sign education contracts, will study seven subjects, including algebra and geometry, foreign languages and computers. The district spent more than $85,000 to equip the school with a fiber-optic system to bring high-technology into every classroom.

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