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North Middle School students take a trip to eastern Rowan County

Editor’s note: North Rowan Middle School students recently visited the eastern part of Rowan County. Here is their report.

Erwin Middle School

Our first stop on our east community visit was Erwin Middle School. As soon as we walked through the doors, we could tell that everyone at Erwin was happy for us to be there. We loved the collaboration and personalization that was evident in all the classes we visited.

For example, in the foreign language class, the students were racing to see who could form a sentence in Spanish the fastest. We enjoyed experiencing the collaboration room created for students. We also got to see firsthand the P.E. options.

One of the best parts was seeing Jessica Allen, assistant principal, accept the yoga challenge, and everyone cheered her on when she not only accepted but accomplished the task. The welcoming spirit we received at Erwin stood out to us as a highlight of our visits.

East Rowan High School

Next stop was East Rowan High School, which is just across the road. This is a big benefit to students because it allows both schools to do activities together. Visiting the different classes, students were engaged in what they were doing. It was nice seeing everyone so focused, and I also enjoyed going to their FBLA and coding classes. Business and marketing students taught us how to do numerous activities.

While everyone enjoyed going to the classes and taking part, I think that the unanimous favorite part was the rappel tower. The tower stretched up to the sky as we gazed up into the bright sunlight to contemplate our upcoming climb, many of us with great trepidation.

Sgt. Maj. Boardman gave an encouraging and inspirational pep talk that helped us to overcome our nervousness as he spoke of overcoming fears and successfully meeting challenges. The tower has a 20-foot side and a 40-foot side. Everyone who rappelled took on the 40-foot challenge with success and much cheering on and applause.

We want to thank Boardman and the East ROTC for helping us conquer our fears and feel such an amazing sense of accomplishment. The ROTC students took care of us and encouraged us the whole time. They even knew our names.

Granite Quarry Elementary School

After our climbing adventure, we were more than ready for lunch. The students were happy to see us. Some of us clicked instantly with the younger students, talking about TV shows and music interests. We excitedly talked with them until time to leave for our next stop.

Gold Hill Mines Historic Park

Gold Hill Mines Historic Park is a quaint, historic town that has grabbed people’s attention for the longest time. From the history to the scenery, Gold Hill is the perfect small town to visit. Gold Hill discovered its first piece of gold in 1824, and that was a start a new era for North Carolina.

The town was established in 1843 and flourished as a gold-mining center. It is now a hidden gem that makes up part of our Rowan County history. Vivian Hopkins, vice president of Historic Gold Hill and Mines Foundation Inc., led us on our chilly tour. As we braved the whipping winds on a frigid day, we found ourselves pulled into the rich culture of this town as Hopkins described the rich history behind each spot on the tour.

Who knew there could be so many jewels to discover in such a small town? It is like stepping back in time. There are deep mines that made millions and a grinder that is impossible to move. (Trust me, we tried!) Right next to it is a jail, but it’s pretty small because it was only used to hold people overnight. There is even a playground dedicated to the memory of children whose lives had been tragically cut short.

Gold Hill is such a beautiful site that many visit for wedding, prom and family pictures. The Gold Hill Rail Trail offers visitors the opportunity to hike or bike their scenic paths. We want to return in the spring and explore the trails and visit the interesting shops. We invite others to join us on future visits to this historical and beautiful spot.

Dan Nicholas Park

Did you know that Rowan County has its own Walt Disney World? Dan Nicholas Park offers a multitude of attractions for no to little cost. Numerous attractions exist at this special park: nature center, paddle boats, trails, gem mine, carousel, train rides, mini golf, splash pad, wildlife adventures, camping, playgrounds and more.

Andrea Baucom, director of special events at Dan Nicholas Park, gave a special thanks to Jim Foltz who has made many generous donations to the park, making this experience possible for so many. We also learned the park is always seeking to improve and add more appealing attractions.

We really enjoyed going on our visit, because the staff there was so welcoming and polite. After seeing the animals in the nature center, Mike Lambert, Dan Nicholas Park naturalist and herpetologist, brought out one of the animals. We were expecting something soft and furry, maybe a chinchilla, but instead he brought out a corn snake, which was really cool because we were allowed to pet him. Our teacher even held him, which took many of us off guard. After all, Kernel the snake continuously twisted and curled around her arm.

We spent a few carefree moments experiencing the playground before we had to leave. The air was filled with laughter as we excitedly relived some of our childhood memories and games.

Everywhere we went on our East adventure, we were welcomed as if we were part of their family. This strong sense of community has followed us throughout our field trips in Rowan County, emphasizing the celebration of acceptance, uniqueness, and family feel of our county.

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