A chat with the principal

As school comes to an end, SNN reporter J’Niya Hayes decided to sit down with principal Erin Savage to talk about a year full of challenges and changes.

J’NIYA HAYES, SNN Staff Writer

Q: How has this 2020-2021 school year has been overall?

A: It’s been busy, challenging, fast paced. The year has just gone by fast. Even with everything we’re going through, it just seems like the days fly by, because there’s just so much to do and everchanging. It’s just too many changes.

Q: Is there anything you would change as far as students this year?

A: Attendance, I wish students would come to school more; I wish they would tune in to their education a little bit more then what they’ve been doing over the year. It’s been difficult keeping students in their learning.

Q: Do you have any best moments from this school year?

A: The best moments for me are always student orientated.  Whenever students are doing athletics or academics. Anything that’s student related I just get overjoyed and brag on my students.

Q: Since COVID-19 changed a lot of things during the year, do you believe it also changed students mental state? How?

A: Yes, it has affected students mentally. I believe the pandemic has made it worse because kids are going through stuff at home and in their personal lives. It’s hard sometimes to get up and get moving. It’s hard for even adults sometimes. So when you have a student who doesn’t have a lot of control over the things going on in their lives, it affects them and for students the easy thing is to opt out of school.

Q: Has the graduation rate improved over the years? How?

A: Our graduation rate has improved, last year we were at a 97.8%. I cannot remember when I first got here, I believe we were at a 95%. It has gone up each year, so I am hoping that this year we will have another very good graduation rate. Students have until August to finish work like Apex classes or credit recovery classes.

Q: What were some of your hardest moments this school year?

A: All the changes. I’ll use graduation as an example. This year people were wanting to know about graduation. This year, just like last year, we haven’t got information out in a timely manner, because we don’t know the information. There are so many things that we don’t control. For instance, Tropicana Field that’s where we’re having our graduation, we know we’re having a ceremony there, we know that students will be able to have guests, we know it’ll be a sit down. So, there are things that we do know, but then there are also things that we’re waiting on Tropicana Field to work out because, keep in mind, we aren’t the only school graduating. Wo whatever they do for us they have to do that times 15. All the changes that come up – you know I’ll say something then I’ll have to go back and change it.

Q: Do you have any wishes for graduates this year?

A: I am hoping that each graduate has a plan for after June 3, whether it is college, community college, two-year college, four-year college, trade school, military or work. College isn’t for everyone. We want it to be, but the reality is that it’s not. I want all students to have a plan, and maybe a plan A or plan B and maybe a plan C. I want graduates to ask questions, to be an advocate for themselves and ask questions and ask for help.

Q: Do you have any wishes for students coming back to school in the fall?

A: My hope is that they will come back ready to learn. Attendance is a big issue with all schools this year, so I hope they come back with a renewed energy for learning and participating in the school with school spirit – whether it’s through a club or activity or athletics – just getting involved and doing great things.