A Fresh Coat of Paint: NAI’s New Groove
Mrs. Ewing seeks to make her mark on the school, infusing more personality and seeks to give the school its own identity
March 7, 2019
There is no graduation ceremony at NAI. Most sports events occur at NASH, not NAI. The same goes for the homecoming parade, NA THON, any major orchestra, band, or chorus concerts, and pretty much anything else of “importance.”
It’s enough to give NAI a sort of inferiority complex.
It seems as though NAI has traditionally been an intermediary stop, a brief pause, between middle school and NASH.
However, Mrs. Ewing, who took on the reigns of Principal in May, 2018, seeks to solidify NAI’s identity as more than just a brief pause, but a place where students feel part of the larger community.
“When I got here and learned how disconnected we were from NASH, I immediately made it a goal to make our kids here in 9th grade and 10th grade to feel just as important as the 11th and 12th graders at NASH”.
As most of the students and staff feel, Ewing, at the same time, is grateful that all of the high school students are not combined into one building. “Can you imagine what this place would look like?”
Most students associate themselves either by their elementary school and middle school and when 9th graders move up to NAI, it is the first time they are all together as NA students. Ewing encourages them to come together and celebrate NA’s pride. “I want everyone to be proud to be here and be NAI tigers.”
But what makes NAI different from all the other schools in the district? When students come to this building, they are united with their classmates that they will graduate with. “Everyone says that they go to North Allegheny but until you come to this building, you don’t feel the overwhelming power of NA. I want to change that.”
Some people may believe most of the time high school teachers focus more on the content of academics. Meanwhile, the opposite of this opinion is a part of what makes NAI so unique. “I think 9th and 10th-grade teachers truly love kids and they love content as well. It’s the perfect storm.”
However, the job isn’t always easy.
Ewing expressed how difficult it can be to be a leader of school as unique as NAI by saying, “I’m on a marathon of hurdles, constantly”
One of Mrs. Ewing’s biggest hurdles is trying to solve the well-documented stress problem: “You guys are so stressed all the time, and I wonder ‘why?’. We put it on ourselves, but how do I infuse fun for you? How do I make sure students are fulfilled and happy at the same time?”
In fact, Mrs. Ewing has already begun a new revolution of “fun” at NAI, with events such as:
- “This is Us”: An after-school event to promote student organizations at NAI, complete with food trucks and a fun run;
- New furniture, an updated library: transforming the space into a 21st century space, full of collaboration and up-to-date learning
- Updated furniture and technology in classrooms: flexible seating differs from the “normal” rows of seats and promotes different learning environments.
NASH and NAI may be different high schools, but NAI can be used as a “first” — the first time students come together from all three middle schools in a supportive, encouraging environment not as Marshall, Carson, and Ingomar, but as students at NAI; their first real step into adulthood, decision-making, and being integrated as one North Allegheny community.