Dare schools open for the new 2022-23 term

Published 1:45 pm Monday, September 5, 2022

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At both Hatteras Island schools, the first day – August 29, 2022 – of the new school year was a joyous occasion.

At building entrances, principals Rachel Benton at Cape Hatteras Elementary and Beth Rooks at Cape Hatteras Secondary greeted students with smiles and happy voices.

Some returning students hugged last year’s teachers. Some students seemed anxious, but not two siblings as the older one held her sister’s hand and headed confidently to the appropriate classroom.

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Parents also held hands or were apart, depending on the age of the student. One fourth grade boy told his mom, “don’t say I love you” at the classroom door.

The two schools are sharing buses and bus drivers. Cape Hatteras Elementary opened first and Cape Hatteras Secondary, later at 8:30 a.m.

In the Cape Hatteras Secondary atrium, middle grades and high school students stood in a line for schedules and another line to clear up Chromebook debt. On the second floor, students stood against a wall in yet another line waiting to be handed this year’s Chromebook, provided by the school system.

After settling into assigned classrooms, high school students were called to the first day assembly in the auditorium. A second session would be held for middle grade students.

Before this first day of school, some students had been hanging out in the gymnasium and on the secondary school’s soccer field. Warm up competitions for volleyball and soccer were held before August 29.

On the first day, Cape Hatteras Secondary had 370 students enrolled. Cape Hatteras Elementary students numbered 311.

Dare County Board of Education Chairman David Twiddy, when asked about the system’s first day, said, “Today has been a wonderful day.”

Interim Superintendent Steve Blackstock was correct when he said teachers and staff are excited, ready, energized and enthusiastic about this school year. That was clearly evident at the Hatteras Island schools.

Blackstock was appreciated the collaboration with law enforcement officers in towns and sheriff’s deputies in managing traffic. At First Flight schools, Blackstock said all students were in classrooms within four or five minutes of the start time.

The county’s school board is searching for a new superintendent. The search is conducted by the school board, which chose not to hire a consultant.

The deadline for applications from interested candidates was September 1.

Dare school board has scheduled a closed meeting September 6, 2022. Mary Ellon Balance, chair of the search committee, reported that the school board had received 15 applications for the superintendent position.

The board’s attorney, who is collecting applications, will put together packets for the board to review.