ROCKINGHAM — After a wave of bandit teachers had dug through the school supplies and classroom amenities left over at the Rohanen Middle School building on Wednesday, only a few stragglers stopped by for scraps Thursday.
Charlie Melvin, who will begin his first year teaching sixth grade at Rockingham Middle School this fall, said the school looked as if everyone had dropped everything and left it as soon as summer 2017 hit. Melvin will put his master’s degree in plant biology to use teaching science in the fall, and when he saw light boxes not being used, he had to take them.
“You can’t ignore light boxes,” Melvin said as he squeezed four of them into his mother’s car. He said he also found a jackpot of graphing calculators left behind because the first wave of scavengers assumed they were broken. Instead, they didn’t work because they are solar powered and had been kept in the dark for more than a year.
Theresa Gardner, principal of Rockingham Middle School, also made a last-ditch effort for school supplies.
On Wednesday, she marked tables and chairs to be moved to her school. Thursday’s spoils were “T” squares — as many as she could carry — which she will give to her school’s art program.
She also found workbooks she could put to use.
“This stuff is always an extra expense, so it’s nice to get it if you can,” she said.
Gardner remembered moving to Richmond County from Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1978 and started at Rohanen for seventh grade. That same year, she won a contest to update the school’s “Rebel” mascot, though she said she couldn’t remember seeing her design anywhere other than on buttons made that year.
“I can’t draw, so there’s that,” she demurred. “(Rohanen) was a great school; always has been.”
Gardner said she was excited to see the school be used for a “good cause” by Place of Grace, which plans to convert the building into a homeless shelter, soup kitchen and community center that will offer church and addiction services.
Charlie Melvin rolls the items he salvaged from Rohanen Middle School, including prized light boxes he plans to use with science students in his first year of teaching. Much of the furniture and supplies were left behind when the school closed last year.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]