Former pro-tennis player helps open new charter school in Charlotte

ByCaroline Hicks
Andre Agassi speaking to KIPP Charlotte students

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An east Charlotte school got a visit from an exciting guest Friday. Former pro-tennis player Andre Agassi toured KIPP Change Academy on Hickory Grove Road, which is a new charter elementary school he helped open in Charlotte.

Agassi’s passionate about ensuring the education of the country’s youth. He wants every child to have the opportunity to live a choice-filled life, including students here in Mecklenburg County.

Excelling is not an option at KIPP Change Academy. The teachers do not ask students whether they will go to college, they tell them they will.

KIPP Change Academy is the new elementary school joining middle school, KIPP Academy Charlotte, which was established in 2007. The new school serves about 350 students and enrollment is expected to double in the next few years.

One of the students gave Agassi a tour of the facility to show him how much fun the children were having and the empowerment they are gaining in the classroom.

Agassi started the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund 17 years ago. He says he did it because he himself lacked choices and an education, so he does not want other children to be in that position.

“I see kids that don’t have the luxury of being a top tennis player, I see kids that are continuing that cycle of engagement of downward spiral and they don’t believe they can get out,” he said. “I was compelled a long time ago to give choice in these childrens’ lives.”

WBTV asked Agassi whether he has plans to help open other schools like this one in Charlotte and he says the sky is the limit.