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Representative Michael Wray visited Roanoke Rapids Graded School District on Monday as part of the Inaugural NC Bring Your Legislator to School Day. 

Wray was accompanied by Cheryl W. Edwards, research assistant, and they were greeted by Superintendent Julie Thompson, Executive Director of CTE Accountability and Testing Felicia Booker, Public Information Officer Mandy Clark, and RRHS Principal Tom Davis. 

“We are always excited to have our local representatives come visit our campuses and we are thankful for our continued relationship with Representative Wray. I am very proud to showcase the students and staff of RRGSD today,” said Thompson. 

The group toured various facilities at Roanoke Rapids High School, including the CTE classrooms where Wray had the chance to visit with teachers and students. 

Thompson and Booker continued the tour by giving the group a preview of the new equipment that RRHS will be using next school year. 

They visited a health science classroom to view a demonstration of the Anatomage table, which is a 3-D, life-sized, anatomy tool.  

The table allows hands-on interaction and increased student engagement. 

The entourage also visited the CAT simulator that will be part of the heavy equipment operator class. The simulator provides a safe way to train students and the class will allow students to be certified to operate heavy equipment and machinery when they graduate high school, leading to many job opportunities. 

“You all are thinking outside the box. We have great opportunities in our area through the partnerships we’ve created with businesses in our community and surrounding areas,” Wray said. 

The new welding center was part of the tour, a center that was funded in part through a grant from the Education and Workforce Innovation Fund. 

Facilities Director Robbie Clements met the group at the center and provided details on the conversion of the existing maintenance sheds into a lab space for students. 

Students will begin the welding coursework with a level I class that is taken on the RRHS campus and then continue with the level 2 class taken on the campus of Halifax Community College. 

“It sounds like the dream team has done some teamwork,” Wray said. “It’s very impressive. We appreciate what you all do for our students and our community.” 

Katherine Joyce, director of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators said, “All state lawmakers can benefit from spending a day in our public schools to see the hard work and innovations occurring to ensure the success of our K-12 students, and it also will help them see the needs they can help address.”

Bring Your Legislator to School Day was introduced to create an opportunity for legislators to experience the day-to-day reality of North Carolina’s elementary and secondary schools for a better understanding of what is working well for students and educators as well as the challenges they face. 

The goal of these visits is to show legislators what current state investment in education looks like in practice.