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Making History at Enka Intermediate
Making History at Enka Intermediate
Posted on 06/19/2017
By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

When the doors of Enka Intermediate School (EIS) first opened back in the fall of the 2016-17 school year, there was an electricity in the air that everyone felt. Students had a giddy excitement about being the first ever to walk the halls of the 112,000 square foot, 54 classroom facility that would serve generations to come. Teachers were thrilled to lead the charge in creating an entirely new learning community that was theirs to shape, and inaugural Principal Carleene Finger dreamed that each student would learn, grow, and know that his or her teachers cared.

During this historic year, Physical Education (PE) instructor Katherine Thomas was chosen by her peers to be the Jets’ first Teacher of the Year and is one of the few educators at Enka who had the opportunity to know and work with all students. For a Buncombe County Schools teacher, being named Teacher of the Year is a high honor, and this is particularly true in a school choosing its first. From her PE classroom, Ms. Thomas is now setting the pace.

Katherine Thomas with StudentsEnka is home for Ms. Thomas, who graduated from Enka High in 1988. She describes EIS as a family connected by the history they are making together with the support of the greater community.

“Teacher of the Year is a title that I share with all those involved in this historic first year,” Thomas said, insisting that the year’s success was a team effort. “The Jets are flying high and leading the way in innovative technology and educational opportunities as we prepare students to succeed in an ever changing global society.”

In her physical education classroom, students are used to being asked for their best as they are encouraged to find enjoyment in physical activities and healthy living. Thomas aims to help students discover “what they can do, what they thought they could not do, and what they can be.” What brings her joy as a teacher is helping students reach goals that they previously thought unattainable and then celebrating those successes.

"I really loved the game she taught us using hoola hoops," said Carlen, a student at Enka. "PE is fun and I really like Ms. Thomas!"

PE Class at Enka IntermediateAs books and lockers closed for the summer and the sun set on this first historic school year, students and teachers celebrated the many new relationships and shared memories. They even buried a Time Capsule filled with trinkets and references to songs, movies, news, toys, and memories to give future generations a glimpse of their Enka heritage. The capsule is scheduled to be unearthed by students in the year 2037.

Meanwhile, Thomas hopes that students will always consider her words that have become a kind of cadence in her classroom: “Your best! Always do your best!”

Looking for more? Check out these last-day-of-school photos at Enka Intermediate!

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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