SNOW HILL, N.C. (WNCT) – North Carolina Rep. Chris Humphrey spent a morning in the life of students and teachers at Greene Central High School.

It was a part of the first “Bring Your Legislator to School.” He experienced some of their innovative ways of learning and saw the need for schools in rural areas.

“You can tell the enthusiasm the teachers and students had,” Humphrey said. “It made me want to jump in and start trying to build something. We do have some of the brightest students in our rural areas, but sometimes we get overlooked.”

Greene Central High Principal Dr. Patrick Greene, the North Carolina State Principal of the Year for 2022, helped to start the statewide initiative.

“We wanted to host an opportunity for legislators to see what was going on in schools,” Greene said. “They need to talk to teachers, they need to talk to students and see what’s going on in our schools for themselves.”

Humphrey said he saw for himself some of the challenges for rural schools.

“When you actually walk in a school, you can see the challenges we face,” Humphrey said. “We have older buildings and under-funded schools in a lot of areas.”

School leaders hope these visits will lead to conversations in the North Carolina General Assembly.

“Right now the budget is in process, so they will have to prioritize where a lot of the money goes,” Greene said. “We want them thinking about us and what school looks like here when they do that.”

“Sixty percent of our house budget goes to education,” Humphrey added. “We are making strides to get to the funding to levels that rural schools really need.”

State school leaders hope to make this a yearly event. Greene said in this first year they had dozens of legislators visit schools across the state.