GIBSONVILLE, NC (WGHP) — Dr. Darrell Harris is excited about the upcoming school year. The principal at Eastern Guilford High School has been working with his staff on ideas to make this the best year possible.

“It’s a great place to work. It’s a great place to learn. It’s a great place to teach and our community involvement and our parent involvement is a large part of that,” he says.

Building on that involvement is key to even more student success in the future. That’s why the school has started “POPS,” or Positive Ongoing Paternal Support.

According to Dr. Marquise Broadnax the Assistant Principal,  “It’s just very important that we have positive role models, specifically the male presence in the building to help nurture and further push that positivity within our school community.”

 Broadnax understands how important that is.

“I often say I see myself so many times over and over throughout this building,” he says.

He remembers when he was young and would “test” authority.

“I can remember as a young kid I did all kinds of things,” he said. “I got in all kinds of trouble but what I can say is that I knew if I was in trouble with one person or you know had consequences, there were multiple people. So, my pastor came to school to see about me, you know, I had uncles and all different kinds of male figures. Just to have that village just really impressed that and push that. So that students know that there is a collective group that’s here to support them, to love them, to nurture them, and to help see them push into greatness.”

That’s what they want to see happen at Eastern. The school held an interest meeting where potential POPS members could learn more about the program.

“We asked everyone that came out to go out and bring someone back with them the next time um. We’ve reached out to some community organizations some colleges; fraternities and we’ve got some decent responses. So we’re just looking to grow.”

Because with more than 1200 students and only 120 staff members, he doesn’t want to see anyone fall through the cracks.

 “If a student can’t come to me for whatever reason. Hopefully, they’ve connected with a member of our POPS program and can talk to them about maybe some struggles they might be having in class or some struggles they might be having at home. And that pop volunteer can provide them with some support,” Harris said.

He adds that creating a relationship in turn creates responsibility.

“Because there’s an additional person that they don’t want to let down. There’s an additional person that they know has some eyes and ears on them.”

It’s that teamwork that will make the dream work.

“My favorite saying right now is, what a time to be a Wildcat!”