Onslow Co. students return to school, prepare to grow leadership skills

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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–Today marked the first day back to school for counties across the East. And in Onslow County, students at one middle school are taking part in a new initiative.

Southwest Middle School students were divided up into four houses during today’s welcome back assembly: Umai, Ahadi, Valor and Pieta.

The houses’ names are in different languages but translate to choice, commitment, courage and compassion.

“The houses are mixed by grade,” Principal Jerome Gidrey said. “We wanted to have leadership from all angles. We wanted to have 8th graders showing 6th graders what it’s like to be a mature person.”

Principal Gidrey says leadership skills are the key to success.

“We feel that no matter what your goals are after high school if you have good leadership traits, you’re going to be successful no matter what,” he said.

7th grader Hollyn Petrock is part of the Choice House.

“It’s about the choices you make and how it impacts your life,” she said. “I think it helps us with what we do in our lives and makes our school a better place to be in.”

Of course with the seriousness came a little bit of fun. Students walked into school while a DJ played and teachers did the Electric Slide during the assembly.

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