Editor's note: This article was last updated Aug. 8 at 7:47 p.m.

MOREHEAD CITY — After winning a battle that began in June to keep their school open, it was cheers and smiles for 100 Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School students who reported for their first day of class Wednesday on the campus of Carteret Community College.

MaST Principal DeAnne Rosen and her staff, along with CCC and school system staff and administrators, were on hand to cheer students as they were dropped off in front of the Bryant Student Center. Staff and administrators lined the steps into the center, applauding and giving high fives and fist pumps to excited students.

“It’s been a roller coaster all summer, but our team remained optimistic,” Ms. Rosen said as she hugged students. “We had been reassigned to other schools, but continued to work behind the scenes so we were ready to hit the ground running if we won.”

After MaST staff took roll in the student center, students made their way to the high school, which is in a building just east of the student center.

Sophomore Zoe Elliott said she was thankful to be back in her school, which had nearly closed due to lack of state and county funding.

“I am very excited,” she said. “I’m still kind of in shock we have our school back. It is one of the best schools and has such great potential.”

MaST parent Robin Andrews Meyer was also happy to see the school reopen for her child, a freshman.

“We are so thrilled,” she said. “We are so proud of these kids and staff.”

The Carteret County Board of Education voted July 29 to keep the school open for the 2019-20 academic year, rescinding a previous decision it made in June to close the school due to a lack of state and county funding. Some  members said they wanted to use county funds instead to save seven teaching positions expected to be cut due to lack of state and federal money.

While state leaders have not yet passed a budget, the current version includes funding for MaST and other early college high schools. In addition, CCC President Dr. John Hauser agreed to provide $180,000 in bookstore funds to keep the school open.

The school, a partnership between CCC and the school system, offers students a chance to earn college and high school credits simultaneously.

The school opened earlier than traditional public schools, which begin Monday, Aug. 26 in Carteret County, to keep in line with the community college calendar and fulfill the state’s requirement for high school student contact hours. CCC will open for college students Wednesday, one week later than MaST.

MaST guidance counselor Kathy Bernstein said the reason MaST decided to open a week before CCC was to meet the required amount of high school contact hours.

“Last year our school stayed open a week later than CCC,” she said. “This year we thought we’d put those hours on the front end of the school year instead.”

The school opened last year with 50 freshmen and added an additional 50 freshmen this year, making a total of 100 students attending for the 2019-20 year.

Dr. Hauser, along with Superintendent Mat Bottoms and school board member John McLean were on hand Wednesday to greet students.

Dr. Hauser said, “It’s an exciting day for the county and the students. We will continue to move forward. The folks from the college and school system have been outstanding.”

He added that although it’s been a tough road to get the school open for this year, it was worth the battle.

“Education is worth the fight no matter what,” he said. “I think more than a fight, it’s a time of gaining a better understanding of what the school can do for the county. We appreciate the support of the county, particularly the school board and county commissioners.”

Mr. McLean, who voted consistently for the school to remain open, said he wanted to be there to welcome the students.

“It’s obviously for the kids,” Mr. McLean said. “I think this school is a great opportunity for our county, and it was the right thing to do for so many reasons.”

Mr. Bottoms, too, said he was happy to see returning sophomores, as well as a new class of freshmen.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” he said. “Our sophomores are back and we have new students. You can already see because of what they went through this summer they have a clear understanding of why they are here and they are serious about being here to get it.”

During the Tuesday BOE meeting, school board members congratulated MaST students and parents on starting a new school year.

However, Chairman Travis Day, who has consistently voted against keeping the school open, added with his congratulatory statement, “To the county taxpayers, I am sorry that the teaching positions at your schools have been cut and I apologize for additional requests in advance. Hopefully we can move forward despite the challenges.”

While MaST parents and students, through an attorney, served the BOE with request for a preliminary injunction and civil suit to keep the school open in July, parent Lindsay Webb said they dropped both because of the outcome of the final vote.

“They did what was right so we dropped it. It was just the right thing to do,” Ms. Webb said during an interview last week.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

Previous report

MOREHEAD CITY — After winning a battle that began in June to keep their school open, it was cheers and smiles for 100 Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School students who reported for their first day of class Wednesday on the campus of Carteret Community College.

MaST Principal DeAnne Rosen and her staff, along with CCC and school system staff and administrators, were on hand to cheer students as they were dropped off in front of the Bryant Student Center. Staff and administrators lined the steps into the center, applauding and giving high fives and fist pumps to excited students.

“It’s been a roller coaster all summer, but our team remained optimistic,” Ms. Rosen said as she hugged students. “We had been reassigned to other schools, but continued to work behind the scenes so we were ready to hit the ground running if we won.”

After MaST staff took roll in the student center, students made their way to their high school, which is in a building just east of the student center.

Rising sophomore Zoe Elliott said she was thankful to be back in her school, which had nearly closed due to lack of state and county funding.

“I am very excited,” she said. “I’m still kind of in shock we have our school back. It is one of the best schools and has such great potential.”

The Carteret County Board of Education voted July 29 to keep the school open for the 2019-20 academic year, rescinding a previous decision the board made in June to close the school due to a lack of state and county funding. Some board members said they wanted to use county funds instead to save seven teaching positions expected to be cut due to lack of state and federal money.

While state leaders have not yet passed a budget, the current version includes funding for MaST and other early college high schools. In addition, CCC President Dr. John Hauser agreed to provide $180,000 in bookstore funds to keep the school open.

The school, a partnership between CCC and the school system, offers students a chance to receive college and high school credits simultaneously.

 

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

Tags

(1) comment

DeadBolt

Students have a better chance in the slums of Mumbai than Baltimore [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPNNZQHtUxA ]


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.