Mary Feagan, PCHS principal, reflects on 2015-16 school year Saying goodbye to this year’s seniors

Principal Mary Feagan of Polk County High School is approaching the end of her fourth year as principal and will be sending 155 seniors off into the world during graduation at 7 p.m. on June 10 at the PCHS football field. She reflected on the year, illustrating the highlights and challenges presented to her since school began on August 25 last year.

Principal Mary Feagan of Polk County High School is approaching the end of her fourth year as principal and will be sending 155 seniors off into the world during graduation at 7 p.m. on June 10 at the PCHS football field. She reflected on the year, illustrating the highlights and challenges presented to her since school began on August 25 last year.

In just a few weeks, Polk County High School will be sending off another class of seniors into the world on Fri., June 10. The class of 2016 includes 155 students.

 

Principal Mary Feagan is approaching the end of her fourth year as principal of PCHS, having stepped in after Aaron Greene ended his eight years as principal in 2011. Greene will begin his new position as Polk County Schools’ superintendent this August following the retirement of Bill Miller.

 

“It’s been a great year, and we’ve had some highlights and we’ve had some challenges,” Feagan said. “But, that’s pretty typical for a school year. I’m really proud of the senior class and they’ve accomplished a lot.”

 

She said the conversations she has had with students exiting the school have been gratifying because she is proud of their accomplishments and what they will achieve down the road.

 

“It’s gratifying because I know that they are going to be okay once they finish here,” Feagan said. “Because this is a small school, I know everyone who walks on the stage and receives their diploma and I know where they will be going whether they know it or not.”

 

Pep rallies, prom, winter formal, the talent show and having one of the football games against Mitchell High School televised on WLOS 13 out of Asheville are just a few highlights Feagan enumerated.

 

“We have our regular day to day and this school is fortunate to have the student body we have and the faculty because it’s pretty calm around here, most of the time,” Feagan explained. “I’m grateful for that because it creates a great environment.”

 

Challenges, but no more than usual according to Feagan, did occur throughout the year. She highlighted bringing in a new class of freshmen and watching them get used to high school and the different atmosphere from middle school.

 

“It’s always interesting to watch the freshmen class acclimate to high school,” Feagan said. “It’s interesting because what they experienced in middle school is different here and, with the transition period, they have to realize the courses they take do matter on their transcript and add up.”

 

Feagan thanks the community and the families of her students for their support throughout the year and said she is thankful to be in a small area.

 

“That makes a difference for us, and we have a community that provides scholarships and opportunities for kids to learn that maybe other communities and schools don’t have,” Feagan said.

 

Looking forward to next year, Feagan said she wants to carry on the tradition of doing well on the school’s test scores including the nationally standardized SAT tests. PCHS generally scores the highest among the high schools across the state.

 

“We’ve always done well on these tests, but I’d like to see those scores get better because you can never just be satisfied,” Feagan said, “and you always want to push yourself. Our faculty always has that goal of having our students do well on the SAT and their end of course or final exams.”

 

With Greene stepping up as superintendent beginning in the next school year, Feagan said the landscape of the high school is only going to get better when it comes to doing what is best for her students.

 

“Mr. Miller and Geoffrey Tennant as chair of the board have been wonderful and have steered us in the best direction we can go,” Feagan explained. “He was a principal here and so was Mr. Greene, so when I talk with them it’s fortunate for me that they understand the challenges that go with being the principal. I don’t expect a lot of changes in our focus.”

 

With senior awards night and graduation on the horizon, Feagan said her parting words to the class of 2016 on awards night illustrate the pursuit of knowledge even after high school.

 

Senior awards night will be held on June 9 in the PCHS auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. Graduation begins at 7 p.m. on the PCHS football field on June 10.

 

“I think what I will say to them is to just keep climbing,” Feagan said. “They have been in school for 13 years now and it’s not over. They’ve

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