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Bulloch County Schools open houses build excitement for new school year
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Langston Chapel Elementary School English to Speakers of Other Languages teacher Irina Bowen, left, welcomes back third grader Arumy Venegas, 8, center, her kindergarten brother Mario, 5, and parents Mario and Monica during Wednesday's open house. The new school year begins Friday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Just two days before the new school year starts for students, Bulloch County held open houses throughout the district, introducing parents and students to new grades, new teachers and even some new principals.

"This is the time that we find out the exciting thing of who is the teacher this year and basically get to know the personality, not just for the teacher but for us parents - kind of get to know who's going to be responsible for our children each year," said Julie Brown, the parent of students attending Nevils Elementary School, during an open house Wednesday.

Some schools in the county have seen changes in principals, including Nevils Elementary and Langston Chapel Elementary.

Langston Chapel Elementary welcomed Dr. Shawn Haralson as its new leader.

Haralson was the principal of Portal Middle High School before coming to Langston Chapel, but he said the only difference he has noticed so far in the transition is the "process."

"Boys and girls are the same, no matter where you go. They're terrific kids. They need loving and attention," Haralson said. "It's the process of what you do. High school is a different machine. Middle school is a different machine. Elementary is a different machine. But the process of what you do for boys and girls is always the same, because you're going to do what's best for them each and every day."

Haralson has some new plans and changes set up for Langston Chapel, including some visits from a well-known superhero.

"Superman might show up quite a bit. You never know, he may be just around the corner," he said. "Well in the past, Superman has made his presence in Julia P. when I was the principal there, and he very well could be showing up here at Langston Chapel very shortly."

The possibility of Superman showing up at Langston Chapel Elementary represents a fun, exciting school year that will help students to be successful and "be the best we can be," Haralson said. The superhero will serve as a role model for students.

The new principal of Nevils Elementary is Nate Pennington, who spent the last five years at Julia P., where he served as both assistant principal and principal.

Pennington said the transition between schools has not been dramatic, other than the size of the schools.

"It's a smaller environment here; different population we serve here versus what we serve in the city of Statesboro," he said. "The children are all the same. They're all going to be the same. They're all 6-, 7-, 8-year-olds all the way up to 12 in fifth grade, and they're ready to learn. Whether they're here or at Julia P., kids are excited about coming back to school. We're excited, too."

Pennington said he knows change can be a struggle, but what helps is working together with the staff and faculty.

"The important thing about change is knowing how and when to implement it and to make sure that when you do implement it, you do it in a way where everybody is with you and understands the purpose behind it," he said.

One change Pennington is bringing to Nevils Elementary is setting up more time for social studies and science throughout the day and in all grade levels, he said.

During open houses, parents searched for their children's teachers and looked forward to what their students will do in the new school year, which begins Friday.

Karie Anna Williams has two sons attending Langston Chapel Elementary, one in kindergarten and one in second grade.

She said she looks forward to participating in both of her children's school events and believes this will be an exciting new year for them. Brown is also looking forward to her children starting the new school year.

"Well, we try not to have too high of expectations, but in every school system, I think the expectation of any parent is just wanting the best for our children," she said.


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