Holderness Central School fifth grade students Isaac, Aiden, Ezra, Dante, Leo and Colby were happy to reunite when school started again on Aug. 26. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
September 05, 2019HOLDERNESS – On Mon., Aug. 26, boys and girls in Holderness headed back to school where they were greeted by not only their new teachers but also their new principal Joseph Sampson, who comes to them after three years of leadership at Wentworth Elementary School.
Sampson was just as eager to begin the new year as the students and staff were. He said they began the first day with an opening ceremony out in front of the school. Gathered together in a large circle, they also honored the teachers for their years of service, which ranged everywhere from two to 38 years at Holderness Central School.
Sampson said he has already seen how much the HCS community of parents, staff and teachers care about the school. Hoping to instill even more pride, he said he surveyed them all to see where their priorities lie and will utilize that information as the year progresses. He also passed out age-appropriate surveys for the boys and girls to ask what they would like to get out of school this year. The top results were that they wanted to learn and become well-rounded individuals. Values like respect and kindness were something they also wanted to see grow in the school.
On Thursday, students in the middle school headed off for their traditional field trip to Echo Lake where they got to know the younger students who moved up into the middle school this year. When they returned late that afternoon, they enjoyed a cookout then went over the results of the survey.
"They'll be deciding from those results what we'll have as our theme for the coming year," said Sampson.
Overall, it was a busy week for the HCS Hawks. On the second day of school, families were invited back at 6:30 p.m. that evening for an Open House and Community Expo. After touring the building and meeting their child's teacher, everyone then moved to the gym where 13 community partners were set up at booths around the room. Each booth had representatives who provided information on opportunities available to the children and families through their nonprofit organizations or local businesses.
"Some of the parents had never even heard about some of the groups that were here so that was a big success," Sampson said.
Those who participated were the Squam Lake Association, Squam Lakes Science Center, area Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, the Boys and Girls Club, White Mountain Karate, Top Gun Gymnastics, Café Services (the school's lunch provider), Holderness Central School PTA, Holderness Recreation Department, and CADY. The Civil Air Patrol also brought a flight simulator for the children to try, and Meredith Village Savings Bank offered information on their student banking program.
"Squam Lakes Science Center also brought an owl with them, which was a big hit," said Sampson. "It was a nice way to start the year."
Heading into the Labor Day weekend, art teacher Jadi Mercer said that the kids have been just as excited as the teachers to be back in school once more. Adding to that are the good changes that she sees ahead at the school.
"It's been a busy week though and I think right now everyone's looking forward to the long weekend to recover from all the excitement," Mercer said.