Despite a lot of controversy over consolidating Jasper County's high and middle schools, many say it's been a smooth transition.
"We're really excited about the energy in the buildings, the appearance of the buildings, the teachers are ready to go," said Dr. Vashti Washington, Superintendent. "Every situation on the first day there are some difficulties but of all the buses with the consolidation, only one was delayed because it was a new driver."
"I'm glad it's combined and I'm looking forward to the school year because I get to make new friends and get to make new memories," said Jason Sweat, Ridgeland Hardeeville High School.
Now that they're consolidated, the high school is able to offer 17 new courses, including AP and honors courses as well as Fine Arts.
"It's a good idea because it gives the variety that students may want and need," said Janaye Jones, Ridgeland Hardeeville High School.
Jones as well as Brandon Dumas and Jason Sweat are among several taking advantage of a new course called Virtual Enterprise.
"It gives me a chance to learn what an actual business feels like and operates," said Dumas.
"There's a good chance I might actually have to make my own business and knowing the knowledge from this class will benefit me in the long run," said Sweat.
Educators say it's a big plus for the middle school as well.
"Now we actually have our own auditorium, gym, cafeteria and for 750 plus kids, we definitely need that," said Jeannie Jefferson, Hardeeville Ridgeland Middle School Principal.
Jefferson says more space means they too can give students more.
"We're able to offer them things that the surrounding counties can like ceramics, drama and life skills, careers, PE, and health," said Jefferson.
"In the long run, I think you're going to see a change in our students academically," said Washington. "I think you're going to see communities coming together better."
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