Parents give Moyock school thumbs up

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Second-graders Ava Buchanan (right) and James Johnson get to work coloring on the first day of school at Moyock Elementary School, Monday.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, August 28, 2017

MOYOCK — Lauren Eason said she was "very nervous" about dropping off her 5-year-old daughter Lydia at kindergarten for the first time Monday morning.

"She's my first baby," said Eason who was among the parents and guardians dropping of children at Moyock Elementary School on the first day of the new school year.

Eason, whose stepdaughter, Sadie Eason, also starts kindergarten at the school on Wednesday, said she believes both girls will be OK because "I came here when I was in elementary school."

Just inside the entrance at Moyock Elementary, Eason and Lydia stopped at the "kiss and go" sign manned by parent volunteer Maria Slaughter. "It's easier for the parents to let the children go here versus walking into their classrooms," Slaughter explained.

Also dropping their children off for the first day of school at Moyock Elementary Monday were Robert and Jessica Wilson. The couple dropped off son Robert Jr., 8, a third-grader, and daughter Sophia, 5, a kindergartner.

Himself a product of the Currituck County Schools, Robert Wilson said he’s a fan of Moyock Elementary's teachers.

"They really care. The principal cares. They do a lot for the families and students. They do a lot of events," he said.

Jessica Wilson also noted she’s involved at Moyock Middle through its PTA. She was no less a fan.

"All the teachers are awesome and the kids have a great time," she said.

Their son, Robert Jr., said it really felt good to be back at school. Asked why, he said,” "Because I get to go upstairs and make new friends."

One of the earliest arrivals at Moyock Elementary Monday was Kristina Hamilton, who brought daughter Gabby, 9, a fourth-grader at the school.

Gabby said she wasn't real excited about being back at school. "Because I like summer," she explained.

Shannon Vellines said daughter Savannah, 8, a third-grader, was a bit nervous about the first day of school. Last year was Savannah's first year at Moyock Elementary after having been home-schooled. Like the Wilsons, Vellines really likes Moyock Elementary.

"These people here have been awesome. Her teacher last year was phenomenal," she said.

"They're just very attentive,” Vellines continued. “They're super-sensitive to the kids' needs and they work with each individual kid."

Monday marked Brandi Kelly's first day as principal at Moyock Elementary. She previously served as an assistant principal at the school a year after working at Currituck County High School. Kelly has been an educator for about 13 years.

"There's something to be said about really transforming the lives (of schoolchildren) and impacting teachers and parents," she said.

At Moyock Elementary, Kelly said she hopes to emphasize a strategy that teaches not only children, but parents and staff as well, that intelligence isn’t fixed — that a child’s intellectual capacity can change and grow.

"So, once the staff grabs hold of that and then kids start to grab hold of that, the possibilities are endless," she said.

Kelly is particularly enthusiastic about the presence of Charlotte Ludolph, a support staffer who will split time between Moyock, W.T. Griggs and Jarvisburg elementary schools this year.

Ludolph said she loves Moyock Elementary.

"I really enjoy the fact that everybody here is such a family," she said. "And they just sort of welcome you with open arms. And it doesn't matter what you do or how many days a week you can be here, they just make you feel at home."

"I think the kids sense that when they come to this school and so they feel comfortable here as well," she said.

At Currituck County Middle School, Matt Lutz, who is in his second year as CCMS’ principal, said he saw a lot of smiling faces Monday morning. He attributed students’ upbeat attitudes to the fact that 80 percent of them attended the school’s open house. 

The physical look inside the school is also different this year. Currituck Middle School’s new art teacher had the lockers painted to resemble book spines.

"We're trying to really warm up the environment and make our kids feel welcome and focused on learning and feel loved at the same time," Lutz said.

At neighboring Currituck County High School, students also were returning to a school with a new look. Principal Renee Dowdy and her assistant principals gave the school hallways a major makeover this summer, painting them the school colors of red and black.

"I have to be surrounded by school spirit," Dowdy, a 1996 alumna of Currituck County High School.

Eleventh-grader Ashley Ferretti, 16, said she was happy to be back at school. She’s dually enrolled in courses at College of The Albemarle.

Ferretti said she wants to eventually transfer from COA to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to pursue a career in psychology.

"I like how the brain works and learning about it," she said.

Currituck County Schools Superintendent Mark Stefanik said late Monday that the reports he received from schools the first day were “very positive.” First-day enrollment Monday was 4,120, up from the 4,013 enrollment figure the first day of last school year.