Uwharrie Middle gets new name, new after-school program and high interest

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- With a new school year around the corner, Randolph County Schools is preparing to welcome a new chapter for the former Uwharrie Middle School.

This will be the first school year for what is now Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve.

“It’s very new and very exciting,” Principal Anthony Grosch said.

Part of the excitement is that the enrollment numbers are high enough where spaces that were once empty classrooms will be used as traditional learning environments.

A room that was used as a place for students to read, will now be repurposed back into a classroom for the Spanish program.

For a school that was 51 percent under capacity, repurposing spaces is a sign of growth.

“The ninth grade is at 65 [students] with a max of 75. Middle school grades, six, seven and eight, are pretty much at capacity at about 350,” Grosch said.

Grosch says part of the community excitement has been about the curriculum, which has a career-based focus including a school of public service, a school of technology and design and a school of leadership and communication.

High school grade levels are being added consecutively across four years.

This year will only house sixth- through ninth-grade students.

Uwharrie Ridge will partner with the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA to provide an after-school program at the school.

“We’ll have a site director and depending on the size of the program, how many children we have enrolled there, it may have even one to two counselors with them as well,” said Celena Fleming, community development director at the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA.

Fleming says the program will be available beginning the first day of school.

Uwharrie Ridge is a non-traditional school where enrollment is open to students across the county, but priority is given to families in the immediate area first.

This project was part of an effort to ease school overcrowding in southwest Randolph County.