New teachers, new students

Mineral Springs Elementary preps for start of new school year

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Kaitlin Hyslop, right, talks with a parent of an incoming third-grader on Sunday at Mineral Springs Elementary School's open house.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Kaitlin Hyslop, right, talks with a parent of an incoming third-grader on Sunday at Mineral Springs Elementary School’s open house.

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ELLERBE — A month ago, Kaitlin Hyslop had never heard of Richmond County, N.C. Nineteen days ago, she never imagined she’d make the 12-hour drive south from her New York home to live here.

But the new third grade English-Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Mineral Springs Elementary School sure is taking a liking to Southern hospitality.

“I got here Aug. 5,” Hyslop, one of eight new teachers at the school this year, said Sunday afternoon as her new school held its annual open house to distribute students’ class schedules and teacher assignments — along with sno-cones from Doug Lomax and the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, “and love it. I’m not used to everyone being so nice. Everyone here is so welcoming.”

In the north, Hyslop said, people take an eyes-straight-ahead approach to passing through life. In the South, people don’t let life — or anyone in it — pass by without a smile or friendly wave.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Everitt and Keena Green, along with son Diezel and daughter Mia (mostly hidden in photo), check the students' schedules on a bulletin board in the main hallway.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Everitt and Keena Green, along with son Diezel and daughter Mia (mostly hidden in photo), check the students’ schedules on a bulletin board in the main hallway.

Despite the late move, precipitated by a friend who met with Dr. Wendy Jordan, Mineral Springs principal, about a teacher vacancy. Without Hyslop knowing it, the friend mentioned her name to Jordan. A short time later, Hyslop was packing up her belongings in her New York apartment and heading south.

Among the items she didn’t pack up and bring with her, however, is a something that could prove invaluable as she strives to reach each of her students in a different manner beginning Monday — a collection of some 1,400 children’s books.

“I love to read, do you,” Hyslop asked one young man who learned he was to be in Hyslop’s class.

Parents asked if Hyslop had a supply list available. She responded all the students would receive that on the first day of class, which eased the transition to the start of the new school year in that she wouldn’t have to begin keeping track of who did and did not have the list before the start of school.

Hyslop had only one requirement for the first day of school: “Just come back with a happy, shiny smile. That’s all I ask.”

That seemed a pretty easy task for Yasmine Steele and her children. Javon, 6, will start first grade on Monday while sister Alanna, 5, will begin kindergarten.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The hand of Doug Lomax, of the Mineral Springs Parent Teacher Organization, is extended towards Javon Steele, 6, an incoming first grade student. Javon gladly accepts the sno-cone.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The hand of Doug Lomax, of the Mineral Springs Parent Teacher Organization, is extended towards Javon Steele, 6, an incoming first grade student. Javon gladly accepts the sno-cone.

“She was excited,” Steele said of Alanna meeting kindergarten teacher Jennifer Beck.  “She’s an excellent teacher.”

Steele should know, as Beck taught Javon last year and, a more than a few years before that, also taught Steele.

The Green family arrived at Mineral Springs Elementary for another year at the Ellerbe school. Diezel, 9, is entering the fourth grade while Mia, 7, will begin second grade work. Everitt and Kenna Green said their children said their children were eager to learn who their teachers would be this year.

Jordan said the school has a record-high 510 students enrolled this year. There was no official count available midway through the two-hour open house Sunday as to how many had attended the event but “there’ve been a bunch through.”

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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