MONROE — Following a difficult semester when the school lost two faculty members, Union Academy Charter School has a reason to smile.

On Thursday (June 3) at 7 p.m., the school saw 104 seniors graduate and become alumni — 27 of whom were lifers (students who attended since Kindergarten).

They planned to host graduation at their football stadium; however, rain pushed the ceremony indoors to the new South Gym. Guest speakers were Union Academy founders, Dr. and Mrs. Tim Laniak. The school was established in 2000 and nine years later saw its first senior class graduation, according to the school’s profile.

Union Academy requires its students to complete 105 hours of service before they can graduate. The class of 2021 served more than 14,105 community service hours during all four years in high school. The class was awarded over $7.2 million in scholarships and 91% of students will attend a two- or four-year college in the fall, according to the charter school.

Union Academy is open by lottery admissions to all residents of North Carolina. As of the 2020-2021 academic year, almost 500 students in grades 9-12 attended the school. Head of School is John Marshall and the High School Principal is Jim Zorn.