York Prep opens new high school in the nick of time

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comAugust 20, 2013 

Students gather in the common space for the ribbon cutting ceremony of York Preparatory Academy's new high school. The building opened on Monday, the first day of school.

RACHEL SOUTHMAYD — rsouthmayd@heraldonline.com

Monday morning was the first day of school for many students across the country, including those who attend York Preparatory Academy, a public charter school on Eastview Road in Rock Hill.

It was a particularly special day for the upper grades, as York Prep officially opened its new high school building, the fourth large structure on its 43-acre campus.

And as administrators, a student and representatives from the York County Chamber of Commerce stood ready to cut a ceremonial ribbon with teachers, parents and students looking on, it began to rain, a fitting tribute to the delays that made getting this building ready in time such a hassle.

“We’ve got some history to make (in this building),” said Carlos Grant, the academic director of grades six through 12.

While most school teachers typically have several days or even weeks to prepare their classrooms for students to arrive, the York Prep high school instructors weren’t allowed in their rooms until Sunday, the day before students arrived.

Tessa Challenger, a ninth- and 10th-grade English teacher, said teachers, staff members, students, parents and other volunteers all helped carry furniture and instructional materials into the building on Sunday to be ready for Monday. But she said it was worth it.

“It’s fantastic,” she said of the new building. “It’s just everything you could want in a place to teach.”

Or, it will be, Grant said. The computers for the computer lab and classrooms will be delivered soon, he said.

While there were still garbage bins and cranes in the parking lot, spackle showing on walls, a stairway closed so a new railing could be finished and lots of furniture waiting to be put into place, classes went on as normal Monday afternoon. But Grant said the little bit left to be completed on the building didn’t matter.

“It’s a symbol,” he said. “The physical structure is just a sentiment that we are here to stay.”

On their first day of school, the students at York Prep seemed excited about the new building.

“It’s beautiful,” junior Abreha Cramer said. “It makes me want to be able to succeed.”

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

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