25 Years of Excellence: Here’s North’s Story

Abby Marks, Features Editor

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  • The front hallway was revamped to showcase memorabilia from years past, including trophies, statistics, staff member profiles, and old pictures.

  • The trophy case in the main entrance honors two staff members who have been here since the school’s opening in 1994. One is Mrs. Judy Austin, an English teacher, and the other is Mrs. Kim Grogan, a secretary.

  • In the back of the cafeteria, the wall is covered in pictures and statistics from previous teams that brought home wins for North to keep celebrating in years to come.

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This 2018-2019 school year, North Forsyth High celebrates its 25th year of educating students and striving for excellence. Since its opening in 1994, this school has greatly expanded its campus, staff, and student population, which in North’s first year only numbered 32 students in the graduating class. This year’s graduating class has over 500 students, which is bigger than the entire population of the school 25 years ago.

To celebrate this anniversary, North has invited its alumni to walk the halls of the school, which has greatly changed due to construction and its most recent renovation. They also invited Hall of Fame athletes to attend the homecoming game, where some sports teams from past school years were honored for taking home state championships and for being made up of overall outstanding players. Alongside the teams were their previous coaches. There was also a lineup of past principals who made North what it is today.

Other groups are honoring the school’s anniversary as well, such as the choir, which invited previous members to sing with them at their concert on Oct. 16. The alumni students assisted in singing songs that the choir had performed in the past.

North’s campus itself has completely changed from when it first opened. In 1994, it was originally a junior high which fed into what is now Forsyth Central. Because Central was quickly becoming overcrowded, North added a wing for high school students and took some of the load. As both schools grew beyond capacity, a new middle school was built across from North, which meant that North Forsyth High could finally have its own campus. Students were transferred from Central to even out the overpopulation between the schools. More recently, North experienced a massive renovation project, building a new gym, band room, chorus room, healthcare suit, main entrance, cafeteria, student commons, office suites and classrooms.

Though almost everything about North has changed, some things have stayed the same–one being Judy Austin, an English teacher who has worked here since North’s opening in 1994. One thing she says that she has noticed as a consistent characteristic of NFHS is that the “administrators, teachers, and staff are passionately caring people who hate to see even one student fall by the wayside.” Every single student matters here at North. Mrs. Austin recalls a memory of a senior student who moved in last year. He told her that he tried to hide and be alone, but North was not a place that allowed for  that to happen. Someone would always say hello or sit with him at lunch, and that is something Mrs. Austin really loves about this school.

When asked for her favorite memory at North, Mrs. Austin happily listed off the plays she has seen, the games she has attended, the struggling students she has watched become stronger ones, the deep insight shared in her classroom and, in her words, “Yes, the list goes on and on.”

In almost every way possible, NFHS is completely different from its first year of operation, but one thing has consistently stayed the same: the passion and importance of learning and achieving excellence. As for Mrs. Judy Austin, she hopes that NFHS “will always be a place where students can learn and grow while feeling valued, safe and loved.” By the way this school has been running for the last quarter of a century, that hope seems like it will be a reality.