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Rocklin charter school holds official celebration

By: Susan Belknap, Placer Herald editor
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It’s official. Even though Western Sierra Collegiate Academy has been in session for about five weeks, the official opening day celebration was held last week. The event took place at the Rocklin campus located at the Sunset Christian Center and included the entire student body, which consists of 150 students in grades seven through nine, Congressman Tom McClintock as well as Assemblyman Ted Gaines. “This has been a struggle to finally get this school open,” McClintock told the crowd. “We’ve been fighting for permission to do so and that’s not the way it should be.” McClintock spoke of the natural rights of citizens in the United States that he said should come from God, not from government. “I hope you all study our Constitution well,” he said addressing the students. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you the Constitution is a government law. It’s the peoples’ document that tells government what it will allow it to do.” WSCA is a continuation of Rocklin Academy, a charter school, which consists of students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Approval to open WSCA came last spring from the State Board of Education after attempts at approval from Rocklin Unified School District and Placer County Board of Education were denied. “You’ve won the war,” Gaines said to those in attendance at the ceremony. “I have six children and we’ve used a variety of types of education to school them. You need to have options for folks.” After a few opening comments, Gaines took part in a question/answer session with the students. In responding to a question about the personality traits that help him in his profession as an Assemblyman, Gaines said, “What I’d like to see is a person of humility mixed with courage. There has to be balance between the two.” When asked about the most exciting aspect of his job, Gaines said it was being out in the district with his constituents. “I like to listen to the people and learn about the problems they might be having,” he said. WSCA Student Body President Hayden Koch was on hand at the ceremony and said he’s proud of his school. “I came here because of the opportunity,” Koch said. “This school is different because of all the one-on-one attention.” Brad Rondeau, a ninth-grader, came to WSCA from Cooley Middle School in Roseville. He said he’s in attendance because of the extra help he expected to receive. “It’s been great so far,” Rondeau said. WSCA Principal Steven Carney, who is also the director of education for Rocklin Academy, said after the ceremony and the students were filing back to their classrooms, that what makes his school different from other public schools is the small school feeling and environment. “We know every student well,” he said. “Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and learn at all different levels.”