First week hard, satisfying work for leaders at new local schools

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comAugust 27, 2012 

Amanda McTeer, a teacher at Hardeeville's Royal Live Oaks Academy, works with her first-graders during "morning meeting" at the start of the school day on Monday.

JAY KARR

The first day of school at the new Royal Live Oaks Academy of Arts and Sciences went smoothly, director Karen Wicks said.

It just came a week later than anticipated.

Foul weather delayed the final construction work on the state-chartered school in Hardeeville and forced a tough decision upon Wicks -- open before fences were installed around portable classrooms or issue a rain check until the following week.

Delaying wasn't an easy choice, she said, but the decision didn't cost the school any students or shake parents' confidence.

And on Aug. 20, the first day of school, only minor traffic issues -- common on first days when parents want to walk their children to class -- and a few uniform problems were the only kinks reported. Wicks walked from room to room, checking on the school's 450 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

"I had a great sense of relief," Wicks said. "My feet hurt at the end of the day, but it was a gratifying experience."

Two days later in northern Beaufort County, the Rev. Chad Lawrence was overseeing the first students of Holy Trinity Classical Christian School. Though not faced with a dilemma like Wick's, Lawrence, the new school's headmaster, was helped by a group of volunteers that worked around the clock to prepare the former site of Riverview Charter School on Burroughs Avenue for Holy Trinity's first classes.

The school is sponsored by the Parish Church of St. Helena and is leasing the building from the Beaufort County School District.

Prep work entailed everything from scraping gum off desks to building teachers' bulletin boards.

And once school started? So far, so good, Lawrence said of the first week.

Teachers plan to tweak the curriculum -- lessons hearken to classrooms of a century ago and include Latin, handwriting, and recitation -- to be more in tune with students' abilities, but there have been few hiccups, Lawrence said.

"We had our first chapel (Wednesday) morning, and that was great, then off (the students) went. They were all happy," Lawrence said.

Both Lawrence and Wicks called the experience of seeing their first classes of students "exciting." They're working to ensure students appreciate their roles in the history of the school, too.

At Royal Live Oaks, students will vote to pick the mascot. This week, classes are creating time capsules to commemorate the school's first year.

At Holy Trinity Classical, the 150 students in preschool through fifth grade will participate in a special convocation in late September. Lawrence said school staff members frequently mention the hard work to open the school.

"We just stress that it's a special thing," he said. "They can see that."

Related content

  1. Holy Trinity Classical Christian School
  2. Royal Live Oaks Academy of the Arts and Sciences
  3. Charter school in Jasper County selects first student body; March 14, 2012
  4. New Beaufort private school moves into Riverview's building; May 6, 2012

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