The excitement was palpable as nearly 600 students from Holly Ridge Primary and Holly Hills Elementary packed into the Holly Ridge gym on Sept. 12 for a special celebration: an assembly recognizing the school work they did over the summer.
“Are you ready?” Principal Chad Gerity asked the students. “Yes!” cheered the youngsters.
“If you completed some of your summer schoolwork, raise your hand,” said Gerity. A majority of hands went up. “Raise your hand if you completed all of your summer schoolwork,” he said. A smaller number of hands went up. “Let’s give these students a round of applause!”
Before school got out in June, Holly Ridge and Holly Hills students received three books and a journal with math and writing activities to work on over the summer. Teachers met with parents to help them understand how much the “summer slide” – when students regress academically during breaks – can hurt students’ academic progress. The Holly Hills library was also open one day a week during the summer and staff members volunteered their time to help students with their studies.
The more summer work students completed the more chances they earned to win prizes at the assembly. The prizes, which included books, arts and crafts, a scooter and helmet, and even an iPod and a tablet computer, were donated by local businesses and collected by the school office staff.
There was anticipation and applause as each name was drawn by Principal Gerity and Assistant Principal Teolyn Bourbonnie.
Third-grader Cameron Swearingen was excited to win a backpack.
“This was my first time,” he said. “I worked very hard this summer.”
Gerity said the summer program is just one of many ways teachers and staff at Holly Ridge, which serves kindergarten through second grade, and Holly Hills, which serves third through fifth grade, are supporting the academic growth and success of their diverse student population.
--Posted Sept. 19, 2014.