It was the first day of school for the remaining districts in Western New York, which includes the City of Buffalo.
One special school within the district, Leonardo Da Vinci High School, opened its doors today to lots of smiling faces. The school is unique: it has a 94 percent graduation rate, compared to the city’s average of about 65 percent.
Part of that uniqueness is its location.
The high school is situated on D’Youville College’s campus. It’s located inside one of the college’s halls, and students have access to D’Youville’s facilities and classes.
“Not a lot of people get to get this opportunity,” said Mariya Sami, a senior. “It just helps students know what college is like, sitting in the classroom with college students and professors.”
Mariya plans to go to college next year. She’s getting all of her general education classes out of the way at Da Vinci, and expects to enter college as a sophomore.
The principal of the school says students can leave with up to 22 college credits. But he said it’s not just the preparedness for higher education that makes the place so special. He says there is a lot of diversity in the halls as well.
“When you walk the halls and see the students, you’re going to see a reflection of Buffalo and the city school district as well,” Principal Greg Lodinsky said.
Principal Lodinsky has four core values he passes onto his students: kindness, courtesy, dignity and respect.
“I’m hoping the students take that out as adults and change the world in their own way,” he said.
The students have helped change this building in their own way. They worked together to win an American Dairy Association and Dairy Counsel competition, and got their cafeteria redone over the summer. Today, many students saw the new space for the first time. The walls in the cafeteria were white before the makeover.
You do have to apply to get into the high school. Principal Lodinsky says there’s no test; they mainly look at grades and attendance. Out of about 1,000 upcoming freshman who apply, 100 are accepted each year.