February 22, 2012 was the day three Architects from HBA went back to school for education of a different sort. HBA Principals Mike Ross and Mike Winner joined by architect John Den Boer, visited three of Norfolk’s finest schools, Lake Taylor High, Azalea Garden Middle, and Bayview Elementary. Each of the participants enjoyed being a “Principal for a Day”, where each architect shadowed a Principal to learn more about the successes they have achieved and the challenges they face, and to interact with students who aspire to enter the design industry or profession.
Not knowing what to expect of my visit to Azalea Garden Middle I eagerly walked toward the front of the school much like the kids attending the school. I was greeted by Dr. Reuthenia C. Clark (shown left), the Principal of Azalea Garden Middle; Azalea Garden Middle is a typical mid-twentieth century middle school, that showed its age but was clean and well maintained. Dr. Clark gave me a brief run-down of our itinerary and we were off to be guests on the school’s morning news show filmed and hosted by the students. After the morning news show I was greeted by the school’s faculty and staff and presented a welcoming card and gift. After a tour of the facility, we sat down with a select group of kids to have a great discussion about architecture, construction and their school.
Being involved in Principal for a Day was a great opportunity to exchange and share ideas, resources, and led to a sense of responsibility for our schools. Dr. Clark and I discussed how we might be able to work together in the future to get kids exposed to the design and construction industry, so hopefully this won’t be HBA’s last visit to the “Rockets” of Azalea Garden Middle school.