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West Bladen's new principal looking to lead change

READ MORE: West Bladen's new principal looking to lead change
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BLADENBORO, NC (WWAY) -- West Bladen High School has been the scene for several news stories the last few years, but not the kind of stories the school would like. This year may be different thanks to a new principal hoping to change things for the better.

It's the first week of the new school year at West Bladen High, and so far it's off to a good start.

"Our motto right now is the change starts now. The change starts now every single day," new principal Todd Finn said.

The former college basketball coach turned administrator says he understands the work that needs to be done to revamp the school to distance itself from last year's rough road, which ended with a student being shot after school.

"What happened on May 11 is in the past," Finn said. "We will not be defined by May 11, 2010. As far as I'm concerned that was the day prior to the 'Lost' season finally. That's all I know about it. At this time May 11 is a date when the page was turned, and now we're looking to the future."

Finn's approach is simple. He tries to greet every student and parent he can, connecting with them on a personal level. Before the last bell rings at West Bladen, Finn thanks the students for a great day at school.

"What we said over the intercom today, that we had a very good day at school. I was proud of something. Always leave the kids thinking something positive prior to going home," Finn said.

Some changes at West Bladen were in the works before the first day of school. Finn urged parents to get their student a see-through or mesh backpack.

"I like to have a transparent administration. I want to have transparent backpacks, as well, so I can see kids walking down the hall way with books, notebooks, pencils and pens; and if they don't, what can I do to help that?" Finn said.

So with week one in the books, and the changes now in place, Finn says his goal is to make the changes a tradition and not a temporary move. Finn admits that while many have embraced change, many others have not. The principal says he's sure those holding back will jump on board as the year continues.

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