Photos by Rome City Schools

On August 3rd, Rome High School faculty, staff and students brought out the trumpets and drums as students filed into the crowded hallways ready to begin their first day of school.

Met with the enthusiastic sounds of teachers clapping, cheerleaders cheering, the band playing and Principal, Dr. Eric Holland, shaking hands and giving high fives, each smiling student marched in on the red-carpeted hallway excited and ready to begin the day ahead of them.

The Red Carpet Roll Out is a first-day-of-school tradition Rome High School faculty has organized to build enthusiasm among students while also improving school culture. The fanfare associated with gamedays has bled over into the classroom in hopes of inspiring students to be better all around. Dr. Holland declared that, “This is just who we are and what we do and I hope our students enjoy it as much as I do.”

Freshman teacher, Shanna O’Hara, was once a student at Rome High herself, so being able to participate in events like this for her students means a lot to her. “I like being on this side of the excitement because I get to see all of the smiles as the students walk the red carpet. It gets them really pumped up for school and the rest of the year,” smiled O’Hara. “We didn’t have anything like this when I was at Rome High. So as a freshman, I remember being very nervous. Now, I teach freshmen, so seeing them walk the red carpet on their first day helps them to feel like they’re already a part of the family—kind of like they are being inducted in to the Rome High Family.”

O’Hara is most excited to meet all of her new students while also seeing her old students in the halls. “It’s all about the kids, and I know this year is going to be so great,” said O’Hara.

John Uldrick, who holds a seat on the Rome City Schools Board of Education, could also be found among the numerous other community leaders who came to cheer on students during the Red Carpet Roll Out. “The Red Carpet Roll Out is such a great idea because it shows we truly believe every kid matters, and there are not a lot of schools that host events like this,” said Uldrick.

“I’ve worked in the church a long time, and a good youth ministry is always based off of a sense of belonging and that everyone is welcome. When our students walk in the door this morning and are met by their principal shaking their hands and giving them high fives, they know they truly matter. It’s a great way to start the day and to create excitement. Every kid who comes through the door knows the school and our community is there for them,” said Uldrick.

After every student was greeted on the red carpet, the party continued in the gym for a pep-rally.

The pep-rally began with the presentation of colors from the Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Next, the varsity cheerleaders performed a rally routine they learned during the summer, as the entire gym filled with the chant, “WOLF NATION!”

What really got the student body going, however, was when Rome High teachers, cheerleaders and members of the color guard made their way down to the gym floor to dance the “KeKe”, a dance made popular by recent viral videos.

As the young people say, the first day of school at Rome High was “lit,” and we are sure that the rest of the school year will light the path to greatness in academics, athletics and the arts.