On Thursday, September 21, Owen Middle School had a very special guest, Congressman Patrick McHenry, Representative for North Carolina’s 10th District. With the House out of session that week, Mr. McHenry was in district touring and speaking with a number of organizations, one of which was Owen Middle School.
Specifically, Mr. McHenry was at Owen to find out more about the incredible work being done through the Asheville Buncombe Middle Grades Network and our Middle School Success Initiative. While on site, the Congressman spoke with a variety of community members about what it takes to help ensure every middle school student reaches her or his fullest potential; graduating from high school ready for college, career and community.
Among those who spoke with the Congressman about this important work were Susanne Swanger, Associate Superintendent, Buncombe County Schools, Kit Cramer, President & CEO, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and United Way Board Chair, Himanshu Karvir, President & CEO, Virtelle Hospitality and Jeff Slosman, President, National Wiper Alliance and Nonwovens of America. In addition — and of key importance — the Congressman was able to speak directly to Owen Middle School and United Way staff who explained the various barriers many middle school students face and the importance of developing collaborative strategies that address the needs of students, families and whole communities.
We are excited to see our local Middle School Success Initiative continue to gain national prominence. Congressman McHenry’s visit comes on the heels of the Asheville Buncombe Middle Grades Network being selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Coalition for Community Schools as only one of five initiatives from across the country to be recognized for its work. Also, this past spring we were fortunate to welcome another elected official, Governor Cooper, on a tour of our Homework Diner at Enka Middle School. He too was impressed with the collective efforts in our community and sees us as a model that can improve things statewide.
Building relationships that lead to collective action is important. No single person or organization can accomplish the change we are seeking alone. We are stronger and more powerful when we work together and LIVE UNITED!