Principal Who Took Nighttime Job At Walmart Finds New Way To Help His Students During The Pandemic

Photo: YouTube
Charleston High School

Students across the U.S. have had their share of difficulties while attending school during the pandemic. But for high-poverty communities, the challenges multiply. 

Without easy access to online learning, expensive educational support, and costly learning materials, many low-income families find it more difficult than ever to put their children through high school. 

Now, the principal who gained viral fame for taking the night shift at a local Walmart to help his students in need is up to something else, and the dedicated staff at North Charleston High School in South Carolina is finding new ways to support their students during unprecedented times.

They are letting their students know that no one will be left behind as they take to the streets to help those struggling with their grades. 

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The student-body at North Charleston High School is predominately Black, and many come from low-income households. For these teens, financial burdens often make focusing on education a challenge. 

Acknowledging that high-quality education extends beyond the classroom, staff from the school are visiting the homes of struggling teens to give them the extra help they need. 

On a Saturday morning on Jan. 30, teachers, assistant principals, and high school staff visited over 100 kids who were struggling with low grades to offer help and a friendly face in times of need

The staff were split into small groups, all wore masks, and maintained social-distancing rules as they knocked on doors to connect with students and inform them of the supports available to them. 

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Assistant principal Tony Boyer, who coordinated the event, told students, “We just want you to know we’re here to support you. You’re part of our family.”

Over half of the school’s 800 students are attending online-only classes since early in the pandemic, so among the supplies given to students was a mobile hotspot device to support kids who don’t have access to the internet. 

The school has made it its mission to keep kids engaged since the beginning of the academic year. In September, when staff noticed over half of the students were not attending classes regularly or were failing, they decided to step it up. 

Having already reached out to over two-thirds of the missing kids, this door-to-door initiative goes the extra mile — literally — to make sure these students realize that their grades matter. 

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The school is making headlines for all the right reasons thanks to this initiative, and the work of their principal Henry Darby, who took a night job at Walmart to raise funds for his students.

His story went viral early this year when people heard that he was working shifts from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and giving his earnings to students from low-income households. 

This prompted the retail giant to write a $50,000 check to the school, but even this generous donation can’t replace the value of educational support.

Darby’s commitment to his students inspired the rest of his staff to begin their home visits.

Teachers in the school already do online tutoring sessions after hours free of charge, but going to see children directly to check-in and find out exactly what they need from their teachers will no doubt make all the difference in these high schoolers' lives. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.