By GRAYSON LEE MAXWELL
Rutherford County Schools
Holloway High School has been around for nearly a hundred years, though it certainly has gone through many changes during that time.
Most notably, the original building that connected both structures at Holloway was demolished after the Supreme Court ruled segregation unconstitutional.
But a school is more than a building.
“If you can remember the TV show ‘Cheers!’ and their slogan, ‘where everybody knows your name’ - well that’s what we are. We are an old-fashioned kind of neighborhood school,” said Principal Sumatra Drayton. “Every teacher knows every kid. They all know each other whether they’re teaching them or not. We know every student because every student has made an application, completed an essay, and come in to do an interview. We get quite a bit of one-on-one time with each of them.”
Throughout the building class sizes are small, averaging 15 students. It’s also true that every adult in the building really does know just about every student’s name and story. You can’t hide at Holloway High School.
“Every student in here has a teacher mentor assigned to them that they see every single day. We do activity period where we take students outside to let them get energy out, that kind of thing,” said Drayton.
Although many have mistakenly thought of Holloway as an alternative school, it has never been one. Holloway is one of Rutherford County’s choice schools. There’s a magical combination in that students are given the choice to attend Holloway — and receive so much individual attention from their teachers.
“The majority of our students don’t want to be in a school with 2000+ students,” said Drayton. “Some of our kids have anxiety, or felt a lot of pressure at magnet schools, the IB programs, etc. Here, every class is an honors class, and they get a great education. They won’t be invisible here. No kid will fall through the cracks.”
The faculty take the job of building relationships with students very seriously, and families at Holloway take notice.
“Last school year both my children started here at Holloway,” said Jennifer Kiger, who was eager to speak about her experience at the school. “The smaller environment really helped my son. It’s more of a family environment. More of how school used to be. Now schools are very large and institutionalized, but Holloway has a smaller building, smaller classroom. It’s so much more personalized for the families. I feel more recognized.”
Dawn Powell is the business education instructor at Holloway High School. According to Powell, knowing students is what sets Holloway apart from other schools overflowing with students.
“We know our students. We have time to get to know them,” said Powell. “The students want to be here, and they choose to be here. Students want to stay here because teachers here care. We care about them graduating and becoming productive citizens. It’s not ‘what are you going to be’ but ‘what problems do you want to solve?’”
Holloway may have gone through a lot of changes. But its care for education and focus on students as individuals with emotions, is creating lifelong achievements that will stick far after graduation.
“That one-on-one interaction builds relationships,” said Drayton. “We are really good at building kids up and encouraging them and taking kids that were afraid to talk. Now they’re walking out with their head up and knowing they can succeed.