There’s not much point in living somewhere if you don’t like living there, and every place claims the right to boast about something, Here on the Outer Banks, though, we seem to have more than our share of reasons to brag.
There’s the natural setting–which is one of the most beautiful in the world. The lifestyle is wonderful–although it does take some adjusting, going from the frenetic workaday world of the summer to a more normal pace in the off season.
But if there is one thing that truly stands out about the Outer Banks, it is this remarkable sense of community and satisfaction in making this the best possible place to live and work.
There are a lot of things that describe a healthy community, but one thing all of them have in common is a great school system.
By any objective standard, the Outer Banks schools systems are excellent, and excellent school systems are a direct result of community pride and involvement. There is a lot of evidence of that community involvement, but the Wave’s Edge Charter School in Corolla, the latest entry onto the local education scene, may be the best yet.
Corolla, up there on the north end of the Outer Banks, is in Currituck County. Until about eight or nine years ago, Dare County schools, immediately to the south of Corolla had an agreement to take those kids. However Dare County schools got to full capacity, and couldn’t take the additional students, so to get to school, Corolla kids had to take a two hour bus ride everyday to schools on the mainland.
The problem was (and still is) that there is only about 20 or 25 school aged kids, certainly not enough to justify a public school of its own.
Parents (Meghan Agresto and Sylvia Wolff, in particular) however, felt there had to be a better way to educate their children. Four years ago they began the hard and very involved process of creating a charter school. Last Tuesday (August 28) it opened with 15 students, K-5 and two master teachers filled with creativity and energy.
What really seems to set this apart from similar endeavors is the amazing involvement of the local community. And it was not just the individuals who live and work in Corolla–although the only reason this went through is because of their dedication and persistence. What really sets this apart is the commitment from local businesses–including Brindley Beach Vacations–to make this work.
Certainly there is some self-interest in creating the school–it is difficult to staff a business with employees who have to drive an hour to an hour and a half to work every day. But it was more than that. There was a very real feeling that this was the right thing to do, and sometimes that is every bit as important as making a good business decision.
So–at 9:00 a.m. local icon, Norris Austin (Corolla class of 1956) rang the school bell in the Corolla Schoolhouse–a beautifully restored late 19th century school, that is a reminder of what a community working together can accomplish.