By Justin Vick
Rocky River Elementary School is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.
“The Home of the Road Runners” opened 10 years ago in one of the fastest growing areas of the county.
“We’ve had a lot of children come and go through the doors that might be in other schools now,“ said Terri Chaney, principal for the last seven years. “We’ll grow a couple of hundred children. They’ll open another school, and we’ll decrease a couple hundred children.”
Cabarrus County Schools has tried to secure funding to open a new elementary school, tentatively called “Lower Rocky River,” to prevent overcrowding and the addition of mobile classrooms upon the completion of nearby subdivisions.
While Lower Rocky River has been included in discussions regarding the next round of construction projects, the Cabarrus Board of Education is still waiting on funding recommendations from a county-appointed blue ribbon committee.
Despite a fluctuating student population, school officials say Rocky River has developed its own personality over time.
“There is a true sense of community at the school,” said lead teacher Janna Tolleson. “Our families are very supportive of everything we do here. It is truly a community school.”
Rocky River will host a Red Cross Blood Drive from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Appointments are preferred, but not required. About 50 people have already signed up to donate blood so far, Tolleson said.
“The community has been so wonderful and supportive of us,” Chaney said. “This is one way we can give back to the community.”
On Friday, the PTO will host its annual Spring Fling from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will have food, games and a cakewalk.
Also this week, students will participate in an essay contest, entitled “My best day at Rocky River” for the rights to use a “golden shovel” to bury time capsules in the courtyard on Thursday.
They’ll bury class pictures, samples of student writing and pictures of their favorite pop stars, such as Miley Cyrus and teen heartthrob Zac Efron, Tolleson said.
The time capsules will be dug up in 10 years.
Physical education teacher Eric Laws said he’s among a handful of staff employed at the school since the beginning.
“I have had opportunities to do other things, but for some reason, this is where I feel most comfortable,” he said. “I keep coming back, because I enjoy working with kids.”
And they seem to enjoy putting him in compromising situations.
On Thursday, Laws rode a tricycle around the school parking lot wearing a roadrunner mask in celebration of the school raising more than $4,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Last year, he was duct-taped, along with Chaney, to a wall to mark a successful Make-A-Wish Foundation campaign.
Chaney said the children make work enjoyable for her too.
“From day one, I said the kids were just wonderful,” Chaney said. “They were so well-behaved and well-mannered. I was impressed with those students. And today I would tell you the same thing.”
• Contact Justin Vick: 704-789-9138.