Enrollment was 288 last year, but this year's preliminary number is 415 cadets as of the first week of classes, said Commandant Patrick Gallucci.

Now beginning its third year in Clayton, the First State Military Academy charter school has seen enrollment jump by 127 cadets.

Enrollment was 288 last year, but this year’s preliminary number is 415 cadets as of the first week of classes, said Commandant Patrick Gallucci.

The school opened in 2015 with ninth and 10th graders, added 11th grade last year, and this is the first year with grades nine to 12.

Gallucci said several new programs have been added for 2016-17.

“We introduced a STEM program into our curriculum with two pathways, biomedical and engineering and technology. This program complements our computer science program that we have had for the past two years,” he said.

A new advanced placement (AP) psychology course had been added to the AP courses already available in U.S. history, literature and composition, language and composition, and computer science principles.

The academy now offers dual enrollment with Wilmington University in ENG 121 and 122 and Military History 317.

Gallucci said a new staff leadership course for cadets has been started.

“Marine Corps JROTC is about leadership and character development,” he said. “This course will teach our cadets leadership skills and how to function in staff positions. This class is the start of incorporating our cadets into the school’s leadership and make them part of the decision-making team.”

In interscholastic sports, the academy is a member of the Diamond State Conference, offering varsity level teams in football, cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, golf, boys lacrosse, and track and field, and cheerleading.

Gallucci said he and the faculty and students are looking forward to more progress in 2017-18.

He challenged the staff with these questions: “How will we remember this year? Are we willing to take risks and challenge ourselves to think outside the box? Are we willing to do things differently to reach our capacity to thrive?”