South Rowan High School gets landscaping improvements

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 11, 2014

By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post
On Saturday, more than 60 volunteers worked to bring a dose of Raider Pride to the campus of South Rowan High School.
Two additional community work days are set for tonight and Wednesday, beginning at 5 p.m.
“South Rowan is a very community-oriented school,” said Kelly Withers, who’s begun her first year as principal. “I knew these projects were things we couldn’t do by ourselves. I felt like people wanted to help.”
She was right.
The school’s administrative team, teachers, community members, family members, parents, student leaders, the volleyball team and many members of the South Rowan Alumni Association all pitched in during the course of the day.
“We thought the weather would be a problem, so we scheduled more work days,” Withers said Sunday evening. “It wasn’t as much as a problem, but we wanted to have additional opportunities for people who did not get to come on Saturday. We still have a lot to do.”
The primary focus Saturday was on landscaping — making improvements in landscaping at the front of the school and in the senior courtyard.
In the courtyard, volunteers laid down gravel foundations for a group of picnic tables. Not only do seniors now have a place to sit down while they eat lunch, Withers said, but classes also can gather there in nice weather.
In the two other courtyards, Withers said volunteers will paint and weed.
Withers praised husband Lee, a South Rowan grad, for his assistance with the project.
“Lee really orchestrated it and got behind it,” she said.
He spoke to the China Grove Rotary Club and the town boards of China Grove and Landis, and worked with Godley’s to provide plants.
“He worked tirelessly over the last few weeks,” Withers said. “My whole family was there — my children, my dad and my in-laws.”
Her main goal for the project, she said, was for students to be proud of their school.
“It’s really not about the facility,” Withers said, “but having said that, there’s a tremendous amount you can do to a school to improve it. We’ve done a lot inside the building.”
Those small changes have made a big difference, she said.
Teachers have been invited to participate in a classroom makeover challenge.
“Teachers have gotten very used to doing a lot with a little,” Withers noted. “They’re very creative in setting up their rooms.”
Lee Ann Freeze is working on her room this week.
“I’m gonna paint the drop-down part of my wall that is over the air-conditioning system,” Freeze said Sunday night. “I have college pennants that students have brought me that I’m gonna display there.”
On two black panels, Freeze, who teaches Spanish, will display art posters she bought this summer at the El Prado Art Museum in Spain.
Her brother, Alan Staton, is making radiator covers to create more workspace for her students, and she’s getting rid of her desk to focus on collaboration stations.
This is her 23rd year of teaching and her 18th year at South. She said that the work day went well.
“It’s a start,” she said. “We’ve got a lot going on, and I’m really happy about it.”
As for the first day of school, Withers said, “I hope students are excited. I want them to feel proud that this is where they go to school.”
For more information about the South Rowan community work days, call the school at 704-857-1161.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.