William Cofield honored at new ‘conceptual’ high school

Virginia Cofield, left, looks on as Franklin County Schools Board member Jennifer Grisham-Brown, right, presents William Cofield with a plaque at the ceremony to open the new William Cofield High School, located in the Franklin County Career and Technical Center Monday afternoon. (Chanda Veno/State Journal)

It’s not every day that a high school is named in your honor. For William Cofield, a 25-year member of the Franklin County Board of Education, that day was Monday.

Surrounded by students, teachers, staff and board members, Cofield accepted a plaque officially dedicating William Cofield High School, a “conceptual” school housed in the Franklin County Career and Technical Center.

“We really are tickled,” said Virginia Cofield, his wife, reminiscing of the numerous times she dropped her husband off at board meetings only to pick him up hours later. “I can’t thank you enough.”

WCHS, which opened Oct. 9, the Monday after fall break, has a current enrollment of 16, with four more slated to start this week, Franklin County Schools Superintendent Mark Kopp said.

The performance-based program allows students the opportunity to graduate with a full-fledged diploma in a non-traditional school setting.

For 17-year-old Marcus Hughes, who is studying English III and global studies and also holds down a job, WCHS is ideal.

“I like the individual learning because I can do it at my own pace,” he said while researching classwork on his laptop. “And here, I don’t have to raise my hand.”

With Hughes’ busy schedule, fitting school in was imperative. He attends classes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., then puts in a five-hour shift making sandwiches at Jimmy John’s.

“Another great thing about this school is that we get to know each other pretty well and we can help and motivate each other,” he said.

Sitting next to him on an overstuffed leather couch, fellow senior Eric Weghorn, who is hoping to attend college next year, agreed.

“Plus, the teachers are around if I need any help,” he said.

The school, structured as an A5 alternative program, utilizes curriculum through Apex learning, a virtual system that allows flexibility and an enhanced learning experience — allowing students to receive their diploma with 22 completed credits instead of 26.

After thanking those in attendance, Virginia Cofield said: “I hope the young people here will do the best they can and make something of themselves out there. That would make us so proud.”

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