June 12, 2019
By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
Only a few students from the north end of Rutherford County have benefited from enrolling at Holloway High School in recent years.
Holloway is a choice school located in downtown Murfreesboro, but, according to Sumatra Drayton, who has been the principal for the past seven years, the responsibility of transporting prospective student back and forth between Smyrna and LaVergne has proven to be too great of a burden for most families.
“I’ve got parents that are, you can tell, really struggling to do it, but they know this is the best placement for their care,” said Drayton, “so they are making that sacrifice. It’s a pretty good haul twice a day.”
She added, “We have a lot of students that could benefit from the personal type of attention that they get here at Holloway, but they couldn’t get here.”
Families simply could not afford the commute.
But starting in August, the school district plans to address that challenge.
Rutherford County Schools will begin offering limited bus services with four pickup and drop-off locations at the north end of the county — LaVergne Middle, Rock Springs Middle, Thurman Francis Arts Academy and Smyrna High School — for students who apply and are accepted to Holloway High.
Prospective students and their parents will have an opportunity to meet with Drayton, other administrators and faculty members at their annual open house scheduled for July 25.
The event will take place from 5–8 p.m. and feature a tailgating theme with food trucks.
“You can apply and be interviewed and accepted during the open house,” said Drayton, who accepted 20 students at last year’s open house event.
“I’ve already interviewed and accepted about 30 kids.”
Applications are available online HERE.
With an enrollment of about 150 students, Holloway offers a one-on-one experience not available at larger traditional schools.
“A lot of those kids are the ones that would not have made it another year in high school,” Drayton said. “It was a struggle for them and one more year — they were already turning 18 — and to hold onto them one more year, it was going to be really tough.
“We were able to get those kids … that are extremely transient. Families are transient, they move, they’ve been to several schools and for them to be able to hang on one more — just this one year — a lot of those kids were only with us for one year.”
In addition to buses, Drayton is making an effort to recruit freshmen and sophomores.
“That’s something that has changed since I’ve started here,” Drayton said. “When I got here, we had no freshmen. Now our freshmen class is doubling every year. … If we can get them sooner, they have a better chance of not only graduating, but graduating early.”
PHOTO / KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT