Community discusses turning one Wilmington school into fine arts school

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Williston Middle School (Photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –It’s a proposal that would completely change a historic New Hanover County school. Community members and leaders met this afternoon to discuss the future of Williston Middle School.

The Williston Exploratory Committee is made of up educators and community members throughout New Hanover County.

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Board of Education member David Wortman has proposed to turn Williston Middle School into a fine arts school for students around the county.

The committee met Thursday afternoon to discuss the proposal. At the meeting, committee members brought up a variety of questions and concerns about the proposal.

One major concern was that Williston Middle School holds quite a bit of history for the community, so some are worried a fine arts school would change the school’s culture.



One man’s concern was making sure students are also given a strong foundation of education.

“When the kid graduates, that he has a positive future. That he has something set in stone for him. And he can go out and be employed, or she can go out and be employed, or they can further their education, said Carl Newton, who is on the exploratory committee. “They can dance, sing and do all that stuff too, but their education is first.”

Another member of the committee thinks it will be hard for students to find jobs upon graduation if the school is tailored to fine arts.

“Fine arts are wonderful. I love fine arts. In fact, I was involved with the Williston Players when we first initiated it. However, I feel like you have a difficult time in this area to find a job in fine arts once you graduate from school,” said Florence Warren, who is on the exploratory committee and used to teach at Williston.

Wortman thinks this is a great place for an arts school, and he says it would enhance the community.

“Having this community together, we’re able to bring a bunch of different ideas. Whether they be fine arts ideas or visual arts ideas, but really ideas specific towards the Williston community,” said David Wortman.

The committee has decided to meet again Thursday January 31 to bring in more questions from the community.

One major consensus with most people in the room was that they think fine arts is a great thing for students. But, a lot of people said they would like to see a combination of fine arts along with a standard curriculum.