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From left, Pinnacle Classical Academy seniors Amari Kimble-Coker (homecoming king) and Lindy Jenkins (homecoming queen) pose for a photo. 

SHELBY, N.C. — The 28 students in Pinnacle Classical Academy's first graduating class have already been offered a combined $2,647,000 in four-year academic merit and athletic scholarships -- and that figure is expected to rise as more colleges make their admissions decisions in March and April.

"We are so proud of our class of 2020," said Dr. Shelly Bullard, the school's headmaster. "Thanks to our partnership with Cleveland Community College, 21 out of our 28 seniors are expected to graduate with an Associate in Science Degree when they receive their high school diploma. These community college courses, along with our school's Advanced Placement courses, will further reduce college costs for our seniors and their families."

Bullard attributed the seniors' exceptional success in winning scholarships to the school's Core Knowledge and classical curriculum and to the seniors' high ACT composite scores, which ranked among the top 10% of all school districts and charter schools in North Carolina, according to statistics released by the Department of Public Instruction. Bullard noted that the class of 2020's average ACT reading score ranked 6th out of the 186 North Carolina school districts and charter schools that administered the national pre-college test last year.

"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, Pinnacle is an excellent college-preparatory school," said Bullard. "And Pinnacle offers so much more: we foster character through the school's ten values, and we offer JV and varsity athletics, band, and other extracurricular activities. We have one of the top robotics teams in North Carolina, and our archery team won the national championship last year."

Pinnacle Classical Academy, which attracts students from four counties, is a tuition-free public charter school that opened its doors on South Post Road in Shelby in 2013. Enrollment has more than tripled over the past six years from 308 to 987, and a second 56-acre campus opened on Joes Lake Road in 2017.

"We are expanding, and we invite all interested families to visit our school's open house on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 5:30-7," said Bullard. "Lottery applications are due on March 2, and our lottery will take place March 9. For more information, please visit the enrollment page on our website."

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