Photos by Rome City Schools

Rome City Schools welcomed their students back for the 2018-19 school year with all the bells and whistles. North Heights Elementary has a new leader of the Pack, Principal Wesley Styles, who has big plans for his school and some are in motion day one.

“I don’t know that I can measure the level of excitement I’ve had over the past couple of weeks as we have been laying the groundwork for a successful year,” Styles said. “We have a lot of improvements planned for the school, one being a focus on the aesthetics of the building. We have some great decorations in our lunchroom, we have cleaned up around our building and we have new signs on our doors. It was really interesting to hear the response during our meet the teacher event last night. Mr. McClure, our assistant principal, was greeting families out front of the school and he was mentioning the many people who commented about how much better the school looked. I also heard kids commenting on how much they love the lunchroom yesterday. We are going to make sure our students take pride in their school and in their school system, and we hope that lets them know we are taking pride in them.”

As parents and buses dropped students off, teachers manned a photo booth and danced to popular music piped through speakers at the entrance. Parents stopped for first-day-of-school selfies and Styles slapped high fives with almost every child who got off of the buses.

Cherish Owens and her daughter, Christiana, got close for a picture in the North Heights photo booth just before the first day of Kindergarten. “I am excited about school. I want to learn about science and social studies,” said young Christiana.

“It has been some time since I visited the school for a first day of Kindergarten,” Cherish smiled. “My oldest child graduated two years ago, so this is very exciting for me. I’m really looking forward to the reading and comprehension focus her teachers said will be a main objective for their students this year.”

Also greeting students coming to North Heights was Superintendent Louis Byars. Visiting North Heights was just one first-day-of -school stop on his list and one he feels is a very important part of his role as Superintendent. “It is important for our parents, students and teachers to see that I’m here to support them, and know that I am always here for them. We are all in this together and the reason we work so hard is for our children and keeping them safe. We want to provide a good quality education and I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Jerome Dennis, along with his wife Monique and his kindergartner Nécal, were thrilled about having North Heights as a school home. “I can’t wait to play football on the playground this year,” Nécal said.

“I am very excited to have my son here,” Jerome added. “This school is established and has a lot of history. My two older children graduated from Rome and went to North Heights. I love it here and I am blessed to have my son in this school.”

“We want to get the community more involved in our school, we want our students to be involved in our community, we want to expose our students to life opportunities they may or may not see in their everyday life and encourage them to set goals and dream,” Styles said. “And educational goals we have set all start with ensuring students are reading and doing math at grade level on or before their third grade year. These are our bedrock goals and we hope to build around them as the year continues. We have really great teachers here who care and I am confident that we can make a difference in the lives of our students through education. I want to welcome them back today and get them all excited about doing things the North Heights way!”