Rhiley in the receiving line

Rhiley Long is greeted with a high five when she arrives on the first of school at Meadville Elementary School.

Like others in the county, this was a transition year for second grader Karmeron Powell and fourth grader Jamius Chappell.

Instead of attending Scottsburg Elementary as they did in the past, they’re now attending Meadville Elementary.

To help them overcome their nerves, family friend Lenzy Terry gave the children a ride in his big rig, and their dad, Michael Powell, jumped in on the receiving line to wish them a good school year.

The receiving line was an idea by Halifax County School Board member Sandra Garner-Coleman to foster good spirts on the first day of school, and plenty of men and women were at all county schools to serve up high fives as they greeted students.

“It was real rewarding,” said Powell of being a part of the receiving line.

“We just wanted to let them know they’re going to have a good day. Some of these kids don’t have anyone to believe in them, especially young men, and it’s important that they know we have their back.”

Now that the first day of school is behind them, Terry and Powell are thinking about the rest of the school year.

“We need to be hands-on throughout the year. These kids need consistency. What exactly are the kids going to expect now,” said Terry.

Powell added, “We need to follow up with the kids and stay in their corner.”

These two encouraged parents and community members to attend PTO meetings, awards day and other school events such as field day.

“The kids need the support so they can be the best they can be,” said Terry.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg said he wanted to thank the community for coming out to be a part of the receiving lines and for supporting local schools.

He visited all of the county schools on Wednesday, and said things went “really well.”

“We had a great school year last year, and we’re still running off the momentum from that. Things are really good,” said Lineburg.

Enrollment is down by 350 students compared to the first day of school in 2018.

A total of 4,415 students attended school on Wednesday, while 4,765 students attended the first day of school in 2018.

Joining new students were 36 new teachers.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com