From the CEO: Reflections from Enka Middle School


Hello friends,  I’d like to tell you about the visit I had at Enka Middle School with Ginny Spencer-Eudy last week as part of my “day in the life” of a Community School Coordinator.

Just as Ginny and I entered the (temporarily) quiet hallway from the front office, we saw a woman unloading several stacks of cardboard boxes off of a wooden palette and comparing the contents of each one with the delivery sheet. I soon learned that she was Mandy Slagle, who for 27 years has served as the point person on all but one of the 33 centers Blue Ridge Health operates across Western North Carolina. So when Mandy offered to give us a tour of the new Enka center—now only days away from its March 4 Launch date—we jumped at the opportunity.

“If you’ve seen one School-Based Health Center, you’ve seen one School-Based Health Center,” she remarked as we made our way toward the renovated modular building behind the school’s main building.



Of all the centers Blue Ridge operates, this one is the biggest, and Mandy was giddy as she described the function of every room—including separate waiting and exam rooms for sick and healthy students, a lab, a mental health counseling room, and a board room she said was bigger than some of their other entire centers. But the excitement she felt about the center wasn’t rooted in its extravagance, but rather in the impact she knows it will have on students, an impact that she has witnessed again and again. This is the sense of purpose behind the countless calls with contractors, inspectors, and internet providers, behind the many hours spent driving across 6 counties in Western North Carolina, behind the monotonous work of transferring the contents of dozens of boxes into freshly installed cabinets.

Later that afternoon, we had the opportunity to tour the BCS Family Resource Center around the corner from the SBHC with Shannon Boyd and her team. The FRC provides essential resources and support to the nearly 500 students in the BCS currently identified as homeless. Shannon and her team displayed that same sense of pride and purpose as they showed off the stocked shelves of neatly organized food packages, school supplies, and hygiene kits, along with several racks of carefully curated clothing items. 



And then there was Ginny, who calmly sneaks tours like these between her 12-minute meetings with teachers and administrators, endless partner emails coordinating logistics, and high-fives from students in the hallways. Clearly a veteran Community School Coordinator, Ginny takes the chaos in stride, using her connections and creativity to ensure that students and families get the resources and opportunities they need, when they need it.

The day offered me a vivid reminder of the work of all our staff members, and the purpose behind all of it. While our jobs are very different, we are all in the business of building connective tissue. Everything we do is about bolstering the relationships between schools, partners, and families. And all of this is in service to ensuring all of our youth succeed.


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