Parrott Academy students return to class

Parrott Academy students return to class

Ginna Taylor, right, takes a photo of her daughters, Kateland and Caroline, as they pose with Arendell Parrott Academy Headmaster Dr. Bert Bright on Monday, the first day of classes at APA for the 2018-19 academic year. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News

More than 700 students enjoyed their first day of school at Arendell Parrott Academy on Monday. It was a half-day for the students as APA released their students early in the afternoon.

Lilly Jones – the 6-year-old daughter of Carmon and Jeremy Jones – was one of the APA students who walked the halls of the academy for the first time in the 2018-19 academic year.

“I did some math and I ate lunch,” Lilly said, with a big smile. “We also sang ‘God Bless the USA.’ It’s my favorite.”

 From left, Carmon Jones, Lilly Jones and Jeremy Jones pose for a photo on Monday at Arendell Parrott Academy. Lilly Jones is a first-grader at APA. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News

From left, Carmon Jones, Lilly Jones and Jeremy Jones pose for a photo on Monday at Arendell Parrott Academy. Lilly Jones is a first-grader at APA. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News

Her father admitted to being a little anxious at the beginning of the day, but was smiling, too, when he and his wife picked up their daughter.

“She went in happy and that’s all I can ask for,” Jeremy Jones said. “We were a little sad to let her go, but she had a good day.”

Students from 15 Eastern North Carolina counties attend APA. Headmaster Dr. Bert Bright said nine buses serve those students.

While APA -- which was founded in 1964 -- started back on Monday, Lenoir County Public Schools and Bethel Christian Academy won’t begin until next Monday. Bright said it’s a tradition for APA to start classes two weeks before Labor Day.

“It’s worked for us for decades,” he said of the earlier start than LCPS. “It works because of our end-of-year AP scheduling and our athletic schedules.”

 Natalie Sweeley, left, and Bright share a laugh with Sweeley’s daughter Anna Kate, a kindergarten student, on Monday. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News

Natalie Sweeley, left, and Bright share a laugh with Sweeley’s daughter Anna Kate, a kindergarten student, on Monday. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News

Mitzi Moye is starting her 26th year at APA; she is the college advisor at the academy. She said she was excited to again be working with the seniors at the academy as they prepare for their college education.

“We’re also looking forward to the big senior retreat on Wednesday,” she said. “We’re jumping right in; we look at the college application process using a computer program that manages the applications.”

Monday’s first day of classes was Bright’s fifth as headmaster, 15th in administration at APA, 25th at APA and 31st total – he worked the first six years of his educational career in Greene County and Wayne County. He said despite his many years in education, he still gets excited – and even a little nervous – on the first day of school.

“There is no difference in how I felt when I started, even to now,” Bright said. “We can’t wait to see what kind of summer our students had and to have them back here for this school year.”

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