HOGANSVILLE — When students at Callaway High School started school on Wednesday, they were greeted by a new lunchroom and new programs.
The lunchroom was renovated over the summer, and now includes a coffee bar, a seasoning bar, charging stations for phones and new seating both inside the cafeteria and on the outdoor patio. Staff used student input to decide on the best way to redo the cafeteria and which figures to include on the mural inside the cafeteria.
“Teachers and students, everybody in the cafeteria staff, everybody had a hand in designing this,” said Jonathan Laney, the principal at Callaway. “It’s very, very exciting. We’re proud of it. I know that. The kids, they were in awe.”
“It looks great,” said Alvins Stephens, a student at Callaway. “And there is a marching band on the wall.”
More than just the lunchroom is new this year. The school is also restarting its agriculture program, which was closed for several years.
“The kids are excited,” said Robin Chandler, the new agriculture teacher. “I think that’s the main thing that excites me. I have kids planning fundraisers so that they can go on field trips to farms. We’re going to have a plant sale in the spring.”
Laney estimates there are 140 students in the new agriculture program, which includes floral design, basic agriculture and horticulture. The school is also restarting its Future Farmers of America program.
“That just shows that there was something missing on campus,” said Laney. “It’s something kids want, it’s something kids needed, and the enthusiasm … shows we’re moving in the right direction.”
Along with agriculture, the school has also made a point to increase participation in the fine arts, with an about 50 percent increase in participation since last year. The school will even be working with the Secretary of State Student Ambassador Program starting in September.
“The Secretary of State Student Ambassador Program will teach them about voting and try to get kids interested in voting and get them registered to vote,” said Heather Brooks, a history teacher at the school.
Even the teacher training has undergone improvements for the new school year, with the introduction of rigor and relevance training throughout the school system.
“We’ve got to think outside the box, and prepare students for their future,” said Lynne Short, CTAE director and assistant principal. “It just solidifies why I’m in this profession, and it’s all about the kids and how the kids move forward. So, I’m really glad that the system has invested the time and the money and the energy into giving all Troup County (schools) employees that professional learning.”
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