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Enka Intermediate: Building Success
Enka Intermediate: Building Success
Posted on 08/29/2016
A new 116,000 square foot, 54 classroom educational facility opens in the Enka District of Buncombe County Schools.This article first debuted as the cover story for the first BCS Advantage magazine's first issue in Fall, 2016. Watch the Aug. 26, 2016, Enka Intermediate Dedication Ceremony on YouTube.

By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

Students talk outside the new Enka Intermediate school.Lockers clanging. Shoes scuffing. Students laughing as the bell rings. These are the familiar sounds of a well-rehearsed first day of school, but for Enka Intermediate- a new 116,000 square foot, 54 classroom educational facility set on nearly 23 acres- it all starts today!

In fact, this is the very first time students have stepped through the large double doors beneath the school’s prominent clock face, which Enka-Candler residents immediately recognize as reminiscent of the iconic tower in the historical American Enka factory that employed thousands from the 1920s through 1970s. It is the first time students will use rows of brand new shiny lockers set among more than 20,000 bricks salvaged from the former rayon and nylon textile manufacturing facility. On this first day of school for 660 fifth and sixth graders, expectations are high that Enka Intermediate- like the American Enka plant- will bring enrichment, memories, and opportunity to generations.

“You don’t know the feeling,” says student Aiden Gephart, full of hopes as he starts fifth grade. “It means a lot to be in a new school with everything new! I get to be with kids who are my age, and I’m looking forward to new friends. I also love the idea of switching classes because I’ve never done it before!”

The new school fills a much-needed role in the Enka District of Buncombe County Schools by providing a dedicated learning environment for students like Aiden. As the seventh and eighth graders continue on to Enka Middle, the result is a more personalized learning experience for all students- with increased one-on-one instruction and access to resources carefully prepared for young scholars. For example, all students will receive a special Lenovo laptop for classwork, and in the Media Center, students can now work in small group exploration areas, maker spaces for hands-on projects, and even a TV production studio with a green screen- all the while enjoying framed views of the beautiful Hominy Valley through the picture windows.
“This is truly a school that has been designed to represent the historical values and traditions of the school community it will serve,” says Dr. Tony Baldwin, Superintendent of Buncombe County Schools.

The new Enka Intermediate school.Max Queen grew up in Enka-Candler and now serves as the district’s school board representative. Over many years, he has witnessed first-hand how the district’s success has led to growth and, in some cases, crowded classrooms. He sees the new intermediate school as a key solution for relieving crowding in the middle school and four elementary schools while creating room for future growth.

“We are proud of Enka Intermediate school and are excited our children have this opportunity,” explains Queen. “In Hominy Valley we talk about Enka Pride. This pride comes from the community support, the passion teachers and staff bring into their classrooms, and the desire and determination of our students to learn and succeed.”

At the helm of this state-of-the-art school is its inaugural principal, Carleene Finger, who has worked in public education since 1995. She first came to BCS in 2007, serving as Assistant Principal at Candler Elementary, Principal at Charles C. Bell Elementary, and most recently, Principal at Leicester Elementary. Dr. Baldwin speaks highly of the veteran educator, explaining that Ms. Finger “rose to the top because, as a leader, she brings the highest levels of experience, enthusiasm, and success to her new post.”

On this historic day for the Jets, Ms. Finger is found just inside the door welcoming students to their new home, and helping them find their classrooms. She is honored and humbled to be chosen to lead Enka Intermediate, and with her calm and confident demeanor, she quickly points to her 24 homeroom teachers and 50 additional staff members as the key resources for students.

“They are all very dedicated educators and our teachers teach because it is their calling,” says Principal Finger.

Then, looking out at the students en route to their homerooms, she adds, “This is an age where students are beginning to better understand their own identities. So giving them a variety of opportunities to explore their interests and develop skills is critical to helping them answer the big questions they face, such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘What do I want to do?’, and ‘Where do I excel?’.”

Principal Finger hopes that 10 months from now as the final bell sounds for summer break, each student will be able to say, “I have learned so much and have grown as a person. I know my teachers care about me and love me.”

“That’s what I want to hear,” says Ms. Finger, “and how I will know it has been a successful first school year 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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