North Rowan parents, students use open house as more than just a chance to meet new teachers
By Shavonne Potts
SPENCER ó Hugs and smiles abounded Thursday night at North Rowan High School’s open house. But so did the nerves.
It was exciting to see friends and learn where their classes would be held, some students said. And it was nerve-wracking for others with first-year jitters.
Not only was the night for the students and parents to get acclimated to their surroundings, but the school also celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Meredith Sokolowski, 14, is one of those nervous freshman. Although her older brother, Miller, is a junior and has shown her around, she still has butterflies. “Some of the teachers are new and I’m nervous about the classes,” Sokolowski said, clutching her schedule.
The Salisbury resident just wants her first year to be a good experience. Sokolowski said she fears high school is nothing like junior high. Many of those fears came from what other people have told her.
“I want everybody to make me feel at home,” she said.
Sokolowski’s friend, Jade Lomax, 14, was the opposite.
She’s confident she knows her way around, which is a common fear among first-year students.
Lomax learned the layout of the school by participating in band. She also hopes to join the swim and soccer teams.
Lomax’s mother, Amber, said open house is good for the parents as well because it gives them a chance to meet the teachers. “I’m glad they are doing this. I don’t feel like they are thrown in,” Amber said.
Sabrina Vann, 14, of Spencer, is also a freshman at North. She isn’t nervous about getting lost, but just the first day of school in general.
“I’m ready for it,” she said with a slight smile.
But open house is helping to dissipate some of those fears.
What’s important about open house?
“Getting to know the teachers and knowing what they expect from you and what you expect from them,” Vann said.
Vann expects to learn more and “get prepared for college,” she said.
She’s already involved in school with the band, basketball and track teams.
Although she hasn’t technically begun her freshman year yet, Vann already knows what her future holds: a career in medicine. She hopes to attend one of three colleges ó the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tennessee State University or Winston-Salem State University.
Participating in school activities is important for Nelson and Ellen Robertson of Spencer. As parents, they want to be involved at North.
“We want to support the school. We love North and had a great experience,” Ellen said.
“We’ve had nothing but a good experience. We like the small-school atmosphere,” Nelson added.
The couple’s son, Jon, 16, is a junior this year.
Chardise Honeycutt attended the open house with son, Robert, 15, a freshman. It’s almost as if Chardise never left. She attended North as a student and even saw one of her teachers. She has six other children, but Robert is the first to attend North. The family just moved into the area.
She wanted Robert to be comfortable with finding his classes.
Of the negative things said about the school, Chardise disagrees.
“I think it’s awesome. It’s a good school and it always has been,” she said.
Robert already has met some upperclassmen through football.
It’s his first year playing football. He’s a linebacker and an offensive lineman.
“I have some people to talk to and who will help me through the year,” he said.
He also got a preview last week during an event for freshmen where he met some of his teachers. He is a bit anxious about getting lost. Robert hopes he’ll get it all down by the end of the night.
Robert expects to have a good year. “I have to step it up to play football,” he said.
It’s a sentiment his mom agrees with.
“Education first,” she said.
Chardise said she expects no less than A’s and B’s from her son.
Donald Overman and his wife, Lashaye, and their daughter Elizabeth, 15, attended the open house.
“It helps orient us when she comes to school for the first day,” Donald said.
“It’s important to meet her teachers. We like to know who’s interacting with our child,” Lashaye said.
The couple said they liked to see all of the parents and students get together.
“We would like to see more show up,” Donald said.
Elizabeth is their second child to attend North.
“North has had a bad rap for far too long,” Lashaye said.
The Overmans attend school board meetings regularly and said they think more parents should participate.
Sheneqa Suber, 16, is a junior, and no stranger to open house. “I feel like I’m a big sister to everyone else.
“It gives freshmen a feel of the school and a chance to meet teachers,” she said.
Suber helps run Cavalier Corner, a school store run by marketing students. Students sell merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies, bags with school colors and logos.
She and brothers Joseph Wiggins, 15, and Augustine Wiggins, 16, were selling some North Rowan clothing at the open house.
Members of the Parent Teacher Student Association gave away door prizes. They also celebrated the anniversary by dressing up in ways that represented different styles through the decades since the school has been in existence.
“The overall mission is to show support for the students and sponsor activities that promote growth,” said PTSA President Corinne Mauldin.
The association has several other events planned throughout the year, including a faculty talent show, homecoming dance and pancake supper. They also hope to offer a scholarship to a student for college expenses and possibly work with the community to offer GED and computer classes.
“We’re trying to start the year off real strong,” Mauldin said.
Principal Rodney Bass said the staff is getting things in full swing. He was excited to see the school’s auditorium packed with parents and students.
“We are fighting for the image of the school,” he said.
Bass said he expects to exceed the school’s overall performance from last year, get more parents involved as well as exceed growth.
The Parent Teacher Student Association meets every third Monday of the month.
For more information about the PTSA or North Rowan High School contact the school at 704-636-4420.