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May 26--  Georgia's first regional charter school is set to open in August in Vidalia.

The Southeast Early College and Career Academy (SECCA) is a cooperative effort of the Vidalia, Toombs, Montgomery and Treutlen school systems and Southeastern Technical College.

Dr. Ryan Flowers is the director of high school programs and says student response has exceeded expectations.

"It's turned out to be much larger than we first planned for.  Student requests are very high for  Army Junior ROTC and high for auto technology and cosmetology as well. Those are the first three programs we'll be opening up and in the future we can open up other programs which best serve those involved," he said.

Martin Moses of Uvalda has been with the project since its inception six years ago.  He's giving up his post as board chairman and leaves with a great deal of satisfaction.

"It is unbelieveable how this group of people has come together.  Nobody should ever say that this community can't do anything.  The spinoffs from the cooperation among these school systems is amazing," Moses observes.

Dr. Barbara Christmas served as the school's first Chief Executive Officer and is optimistic about what it can do for this part of Georgia.

"This has really been a labor of love for me.  I grew up in this area and I really have a heart for small, rural school systems.  To see the opportunity which is being offered is really exciting.  I also am very interested in seeing the business community form partnerships with the school systems because that is all about economic development and we need that in this part of the state," she says.

The school will be housed in a new $7 million dollar building on the Southeastern Tech campus with some courses also offered on the campuses of the high schools.

Ribbon-cutting for the new building is August 1 with classes starting August 12.