North Lincoln High Schoolâ€™s first school year started on much shakier ground than it finished.
â€œWe did not know if we were going to get into the building at all,â€ said Richard Freeman, principal of the high school.
Now, a year after originally predicted, construction is almost complete, and North Lincoln has developed a sense of school spirit and unity.
Former East Lincoln High School and Lincolnton High School students came into North Lincoln with a lingering loyalty to their old schools.
Traditions had to be built and routines developed. On the first day of school, the outside of the campus looked like a construction site, and the inside still had a wing being worked on.
Even so, students and staff made the best of it in their brand new, state of the art school.
â€œItâ€™s just nice having a new facility,â€ said Freeman. â€œItâ€™s like buying a new car. Everything is brand new and shiny and nice.â€
Teachers had less than a week to prepare their classrooms before students came. During that time, they also met the new staff and started building relationships.
Students also had to take the time to get to know their new school and each other.
â€œI felt immediately that it seemed like students from Lincolnton and East Lincoln got along great and became a new student body that wanted their own identity,â€ said Pat Abernathy, a biology teacher at the school.
The very fact that the school had no past identity drew some North Lincoln teachers to their new jobs.
â€œOne reason I wanted to come here was to establish traditions and be part of the beginning of something,â€ said Libby Fletcher, a math teacher.
The beginning of the school year presented several challenges, particularly for those who were affected by construction and vandalism.
Athletic teams had to find practice fields away from the school. For a semester, the schoolâ€™s award-winning band practiced in a cramped classroom while they waited for construction on the band room to be finished.
Cynthia Randleman, the schoolâ€™s media coordinator, had to deal with the aftereffects of a vandalism spree that took place the summer before the school opened.
â€œMy library was trashed,â€ said Randleman.
She didnâ€™t spend too much time fussing over the delay, however. There were other things pressing for her time.
â€œWhat could possibly be more fun than having a lot of money to buy a lot of books?â€ she asked.
Students at North Lincoln now have a relatively small collection of books, but theyâ€™re all brand new and up to date.
They also now have furniture in their library, something that was missing for the first half of the first semester.
Starting next year, all the athletic fields in the school will be completed.
â€œItâ€™s going to be great to have our home field,â€ said Freeman.
Now teachers are cleaning out their rooms for the summer. Their school supplies and furniture are only slightly used.
Most of the schoolâ€™s staff would deem the past year a success, even though there are still some kinks to work out.
â€œThe air conditioning unit had a mind of itâ€™s own, and it still does for that matter,â€ said Freeman.
Some students froze in classrooms while others roasted.
â€œThe next day it would be reversed,â€ said Freeman. â€œThere was no rhyme or reason.â€ by Sarah Grano