Students share thoughts on potential Williston Middle School changes

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — School board leaders still want to turn Williston Middle School back into a high school, but with a different focus.

On Monday, the New Hanover County Board of Education’s Williston Exploratory Committee heard from those who will be most directly affected: the students.

“Overwhelmingly they wanted Williston to remain as it is, with some improvements,” said committee member Rhonda Bellamy.

“Getting the students’ feedback and buy-in was very critical in this stage for us to be able to move forward with any viable options because these are going to be the participants and consumers of whatever it is we decide,” said committee member Marrio Jeter.

On February 5, the school board voted to push back middle school redistricting until 2020. But leaders are still looking to turn Williston into a school for grades six through 12, with a focus on the arts and a vocational curriculum.

“Some were worried about bullying, some were worried about the capacity of the school to hold both a middle and high school,” said Bellamy of the students.

Superintendent Tim Markley says when they asked students about their interest in the arts, many thought only of drawing or painting in art class.

Interest in vocational programs was higher, but students say they want Williston to remain a middle school with some improvements.

“We polled the young ladies at our table and asked if they could go to any other middle school, would they? What would that be? And they all wanted to stay at Williston,” said Bellamy.

All notes taken during discussions with students were passed on to superintendent Tim Markley and school board vice chairman David Wortman.

The school board will hold a budget workshop Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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