KFP: Bringing the community together

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From left, volunteers Jeanene McBride, Stephen Fulton and Jennifer Hodges paint brick edging Saturday during Community Day at Rochelle Middle School.

Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

With the 2013-14 school year a little more than two weeks away, members of the community wanted to make Rochelle Middle School look ready for new and returning students.

Staff members, parents, students and other volunteers came out to the school’s Community Day to assist before the first bell rings on Monday, Aug. 26. Volunteers helped out by doing things such as planting, painting, building brick borders and clearing debris.

“We’re just trying to get the school ready for opening day,” Rochelle Principal Maya Swinson said. “The community, along with staff members, has helped to clean it up some.”

Among those volunteering was Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, who went to the middle school growing up.

“I came out to help make my old middle school and also show support for the new principal,” Murphy said. “She has a bright future ahead of her, the kids love her and the community needs to support her efforts.”

Kinston City Councilman Robbie Swinson, the principal’s wife, is another graduate of Rochelle Middle School and was on campus Saturday to assist with the cleanup.

“For me, this school is near and dear to my heart,” Swinson said. “I love all schools in Lenoir County, but especially this one since I went here and my wife is now the principal. I wanted to give back to the community and what other way than to help out here on this day?”

Nicole Miller — who will be a first-year guidance counselor at Rochelle — was impressed with the people who showed up to assist in the process of getting the school looking right for the upcoming year.

“With me being new to the school and the community, it’s encouraging to see the support the people gave us,” Miller said. “They really care about the school.”

Alena Rivers and Lesley Sutton — who are both in the sixth grade and start the transition to Rochelle Middle School — both wanted to show their enthusiasm for their new school and help in the community.

“Jesus said, ‘The greatest of you is a servant,’ so we’re just trying to do our part,” Rivers said.

Sutton added, “Where there’s unity, there’s strength, and Rochelle is on its way.”

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.