It’s 8 a.m. Saturday, and more than 100 people of all ages are lined up — groggy, sleepy-eyed, some wearing pajamas.But they aren’t there for concert tickets or the latest must-have gadget.They are there for school.More than 60 applicants for the New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy were lined up at the Westside Administration Building in Niles Saturday at 8 a.m. Only the first 50 were accepted; another 75 will be accepted in a lottery later this month.More than 60 applicants for the New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy were lined up at the Westside Administration Building in Niles Saturday at 8 a.m. Only the first 50 were accepted; another 75 will be accepted in a lottery later this month.Niles Community Schools is launching its New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy next school year, and the first 50 eighth-graders in line at Westside Administration Building Saturday were chosen to enroll; 62 were in line at little before 8 a.m. Another 75 students will be selected through a lottery system after March 17.The first people in line were Judy and Adrian Coté of Vandalia. They waited in their car in the parking lot starting at 6 p.m. Friday to register their daughter, Indiana. The Cotés were applying through Schools of Choice.No. 2 in line were Tina Sherman and her son, Kyle Sherman, both of Niles. They had been waiting in their car since 9:30 p.m. Friday.“He’s really excited about the program,” Tina said. “We figure if a school program can get him that excited, it’s worth it.”And that is what is pushing the mounting excitement about New Tech — the kids themselves.Phillip Noble, who was accompanied by his mother, Jody Noble, of Niles, was No. 50 in line — the cut-off number. They arrived at signup at 4:45 a.m. Saturday.“I thought there would be 15 people — maybe,” Jody said.“Once we got here, I didn’t even think I would get a slot,” said Phillip, who was drawn to the New Tech concept because of its use of groups in the classroom.“I felt it would be a better way to learn,” explained Phillip, who enjoys math, science and band. “Usually when people are in groups they work better.”Niles Supt. Richard Weigel, who greeted parents and students in line Saturday morning, has spearheaded the effort to bring New Tech to Niles.The only district in the area to offer this program, Niles New Tech is a school-within-a-school that focuses on project-based learning. Enrollment is not limited to Niles residents, making New Tech an attractive program to lure students from other districts.

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