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Article courtesy by DAVID IRVINE of The Daily Dispatch

Ebenezer Scrooge hated books. With a “bah, humbug!” he expressed his displeasure.

This twist on the Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was staged by students from Henderson Collegiate Charter School at their annual Parent Pride night.

The 200 students and their parents filled the Civic Center at Vance-Granville Community College on Thursday for an evening of entertainment and demonstration of their accomplishments.

Principal Eric Sanchez said that Parent Pride Night is a chance for our students to show their parents what they have learned.

And the students demonstrated with a math chant, book talk and their version of Dickens’ classic Christmas story.

After Scrooge (played by see twist/page a5 Sincere Hargrove) was visited by the Ghosts of Reading Past, Present and Future (Nazir Williams, Micah Lewis and Taimya Scott), he repented, bought books for Bob Kratchit (Aimee Duran) and his children (Tiyana Hawkins and Anaya Jones) and wished everyone, “Merry Christmas and read, baby, read.”

Parents and other family members in the audience responded with enthusiastic applause.

Individual parents talked about their children’s experiences in the school. Demarcus Simmons, who works for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, said he and his wife were thinking of relocating but changed their minds because of the school. “The school gets children excited about learning. Why change that?” Talking about his son, Ian, he said, “He’s a young black male. So many of them seem to be behind the eight ball. The school is regenerating pride in who they are. And more meaningful than just today, it’s teaching them to dream.”

One parent, who chose not give her name, said, “I love this school.” She said her son has been resistant to change, primarily the length of the school day, “but he’s coming around.” She added that she volunteers in the school and is impressed by the positive conduct of the students.

Joseph Young, whose daughter Al’Leain narrated the Christmas play, said she loves the school.

James Fogg’s granddaughter, Danniya Robertson, attends the school. His assessment of the school: “Fantastic. Marvelous.”

In addition to “Read, baby, read,” the school reinforces students’ learning with slogans such as, “The strength of the lion is in the pride and the strength of the pride is in the lion.” That play on the word “pride” infuses much of what the school emphasizes. The grades are identified by the year they will enter college. For example, the two grades enrolled this year are designated “Pride of 2019” and “Pride of 2020.”

The school opened in the fall of 2010 with a fourth-grade class (Pride of 2019) of 100 students. Those students are now fifth graders, and another fourth grade was added this fall. A grade will be added each year until the school consists of grades 4 through 12.

As a charter school, Henderson Collegiate takes any students who apply, as long as room is available, without consideration of academic performance, ethnicity or family income.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.

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