History was made on Friday evening, May 28, at Veterans Community Park on Marco Island. This was a very special evening for several hundred students, faculty, family and friends as they assembled to witness the graduation of the Class of 2021 of Marco Island Academy (MIA).
This was a special graduation, not only for those seniors, but for the staff, board members and, especially, for Jane Watt, the woman whose dream and energy helped to make MIA a reality when it was created a decade ago. It marked the closing of one chapter and turned the page to a new chapter for the highly rated public charter high school.
Marco Island Academy’s next academic year, 2021-2022, will be held within the walls of a brand-new state-of-the-art educational facility. After a decade of planning, fundraising, and a few prayers, the school will finally enter its permanent home on San Marco Road.
The journey has not been without struggles and tests of endurance, but Watt assembled a support structure that would not let anything obstruct the goal of providing the community with a quality high school, not only in academics, but in its ability to serve the needs of students for decades to come.
On Friday evening, supporters of the school gathered to watch with pride as the 2021 graduating class of Marco Island Academy strode to the platform to receive their diplomas as family and friends cheered them on. “This is such a great accomplishment for these kids and for the community,” said Bill Young, a longtime supporter of MIA and the goal of opening a first-rate facility here on the island.
David Vergo was another business owner on Marco Island who strongly supported creation of the public charter high school here on the island. “It really is a time when the community can take pride in what has been accomplished here,” said Vergo, whose son would be getting his diploma that evening.
Smiles were not in short supply, as the newly graduated seniors hugged each other, friends and relatives, and the formal portion of the evening adjourned into a festive night of celebration that included the Watt family, as their son Johnathan Watt also had received his diploma that evening.