Central Haywood High celebrates 20th year

Sep 26, 2013
Courtesy of: Central Haywood Central Haywood High School seniors Robert MacCarger, Richard McKinney and Coy Leopard enjoy a quick visit during a fire drill.

Central Haywood High School is celebrating its 20th school year.

The alternative school was a dream of its first school prinicpal, Richard Reeves.

Since 1973, the school has evolved from seventh to 12-th grade students sharing a building with the active Clyde Savings Bank, to working around construction to organizing a brand new school.

Now CHHS is a highly successful, fully accredited high school on the campus that once served as the Clyde High School, then Clyde Elementary. The school has a full cafeteria, gym, greenhouse, athletic fields and grounds comfortably shared with The Haywood County Education Center and Technical Center for the school system.

The school moved to its current building in 2000 and then survived horrible damage and displacement to the Folkmoot Center for the year when 2004 floods ruined so much.

Reeves served as principal for the first nine years followed by Jim Griffin and Phil Pressley. Jeff Haney is now in his fourth year and very excited to be leading the school in this 20th year of transforming the lives of many Haywood County students.

All four principals have been visionary and supportive of providing a school where students can overcome whatever obstacles have interferred with their academic success. The primary objective has always been to assist students thought to be "at risk" to that important goal: a diploma.

Haney has begun the celebration with the first surprise to staff, one he will do every 20 days all year.

Bronson Gross, health and physical education teacher, won a gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse. Staff are anticipating each 20th day with high hopes of winning one of the secret surprises.

Victory Baptist Church sent their own teacher surprise that week with pizza delivered for all at lunch. The first workday,staff were also treated by Clyde Central Methodist to a scrumptious breakfast buffet. That workday the school also welcomed the newest math department addition, Mr. Marty Nelson.

Donna Parris, lead teacher has been on staff since the very beginning.

"The changes, the problems, the flood recovery leading to the overall success of the school throughout the years has been possible due to a very dedicated, innovative and versatile staff," she said. "The staffs each year have always been willing to 'step up to the plate', no matter what, to give students the personal and educational support needed to find their way to being successful. The school now has 10 full-time teachers, support staff to meet every need, strong and caring leadership all housed in a clean and safe environment.

Community support has always been extraordinary, despite some misinformed who call CHHS the school for bad kids, Parris said. The school is no different from any other with struggles, problems, and discipline issues to manage, but student success is the main focus.

Hundreds of graduates over the years have been helped to overcome the roadblocks, frustrations, anxieties, and failures of their past to receive a diploma and say out loud "I'd never have graduated if it weren't for Central Haywood."

The school held an open house on Sept. 11 where parents enjoyed getting to know the staff over dinner. Teachers work hard with hope to touch the lives of their students in positive ways. The school is like family; caring for each other and wanting the best for each person on campus.

Haney is diligent in his goal of equipping every classroom with all the 21st century tools necessary for an outstanding education. The staff strive to provide academics and personal support so each and every student can reach their potential and pursue their dreams as a successful person in the 'real world..