JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Students in Duval County are heading back to school Monday and about 170 students are heading to a brand new school.
Valor Academy of Leadership is officially opening their doors as the newest charter school in the county.
It's an all boys school and will start off with grades 6,7 and 9th.
The community came together and expressed concern over the years about a lack of educational options for young men, and that's how this new charter school got started.
"I feel good because I can be a gentleman to my mom and my other sisters," said 6th grader, Edrick Cummings.
Edrick Cummings couldn't be more excited for the first day of school. A new year at Valor Academy, the newest charter school in Duval County.
He and his 7th grade brother Leroy Searver are two of the nearly 170 boys who will be a part of the school's history as it opens its doors for the first time Monday morning. Their mom, Mary Williams says not only does she expect the college prep school to better prepare them for college, but she hopes they become better people.
"That they really walk in confidence, walk with their head held up know that they will be future leaders," said Williams.
Leroy Searver thinks it's awesome that he will be one of the school's first students.
"I've never been to a school when it's first opening so I think it will be a great experience," said Searver.
Principal John Taylor said the school's mission is to teach students to be self aware, humble, appreciative and respectful. His motto is that teachers influence the students, not programs, adding finding the best possible teachers was his number one priority.
"Every school teaches math and history, but it's actually the people who deliver the content and care about the youngsters that truly make a difference. So for us, that has been a focus and programs are talked about and discussed but people, not programs make a difference and Valor has embraced that understanding," said Taylor.
Both Edrick and Leroy plan to play sports and said they are ready to balance extracurricular activities with their school work.
"Practice at home and when I'm at school pay attention and don't play around," said Leroy.
Valor Academy is still enrolling 6th, 7th and 9th graders for the 2014-2015 school year.
Additional grades will be added as 10th grade will be offered for the 2015-2016 school-year.
For the 2016-2017 school year, Valor Academy will provide elementary, middle, and high schools, when grades K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 11th are offered. Valor Academy will add 12th grade and the first graduating class will commence in 2017-2018.