Alabama’s first tuition-free charter school will graduate its first class of high school students next week.

The school is called ACCEL Day and Evening Academy, and it’s located in Mobile on Cottage Hill Road near Bel Air Mall.  It opened last August. Nearly forty-five students will be wearing a cap and gown next week. The students came from public and private schools in Mobile and Baldwin Counties, as well as home-schools. The students, for a variety of reasons, wanted something other than traditional school.

News 5 stopped by and talked to two graduating seniors, Delwin Turner and Chantal Reyes. Turner was kicked out of Citronelle High School for fighting. Reyes was days away from dropping out of Murphy High School because she was short credits.  Both chose to come to ACCEL, and they are so proud they did.

“I am excited. I didn’t think I would be where I am now,” Reyes said.

“I plan on going in the Army to be in supply and logistics,” Turner said. Before ACCEL, he didn’t have a plan because, according to him, no other high school would accept him. He says he has thrived at ACCEL with small classes and individual attention.

The individualized curriculum is one of the things that makes ACCEL unique, according to Dean Nathan Adams. Students aren’t grouped in traditional grades, like 9,10,11,12. They are grouped in phases, depending on a student’s ability.

“We had kids come in who were supposed to graduate two years ago. Kids who came in as a freshman. Kids who were behind a year. We had to group them in classes to fit their needs,” Adams said.  Adams says the flexible schedule works for many students. ACCEL offers day and evening classes.

Adams considers ACCEL’s first year a success. They have seen many students blossom who had fallen through the cracks at a traditional school.

“If you are at a school and you have 40-50 kids in a classroom, and you feel like you are not getting that instruction that you want to prepare you for the next level,  give ACCEL a chance,” Adams suggested.

ACCEL is FREE to students. For more information click here.