Holloway Becoming Choice Of Students

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In his own words, Austin Kittavong wanted to get a head start with his life when he made what might have seemed like a surprising decision to enroll in Holloway High School.

His choice of schools paid off.

Kittavong is just one in a growing list of students seeking out Holloway to make use of the school’s block scheduling. Unlike the traditional model of offering students seven credit-hours per school year, one unique way in which Holloway distinguishes itself is by offering students an opportunity to enroll in eight credit-hours per year.

Rather than students enrolling in seven credits taken during a year’s time, Holloway students can enroll in four credit-hours per semester using what is known as a four-by-four block schedule.

Holloway’s block schedule allows students such as Kittavong to finish the required 23 credit-hours needed to graduate within three years. Through the school, students can finish early without relying on night or online classes – both of which are available to all students throughout the district.

“I’d been hearing about it,” said Kittavong, who plans to pursue a pre-nursing degree from Middle Tennessee State University. “I wasn’t interested in graduating early because I loved Riverdale and I loved my friends there, but, I don’t know, I was in deep thought one night and why stay if I can get it done now.”

Kittavong isn’t alone.

Taylor Geffre also gradated early, in 2015, and was accepted to Motlow State Community College and the University of Tennessee at Martin. The top two graduates, including Kittavong, from this past school year finished a year early and both are enrolled at MTSU for the fall.

Holloway high SchoolWinter Flores is transferring to Holloway this fall. In an essay, Flores wrote, “I need a place with teachers who care in a smaller school setting. I need a place of self-discipline, productivity and goals that I can set and achieve. There’s not another school that I believe can be everything I require.”

Holloway Principal Sumatra Drayton was not mincing words when she pointedly referred to the school as “the best kept secret in Rutherford County.”

But not for long.

According to Rutherford County historian Greg Tucker, the Holloway building on South Highland Avenue was dedicated in December 1929. It opened as the only all-black city school and then became a county school in 1951.

Numerous additions were made to the original building and latest addition — which notably was designed by Tucker’s father Burney — was built in 1962. It opened two years later in ’64. That year, the county began what Tucker termed a “progressive” consolidation of Holloway with Central High.

The integration was completed in 1968 and Holloway was closed before reopening in 1973 as a vocational high school.

“It was for kids who needed a skill,” said Drayton, who added, “but it’s never, to my knowledge, been a school where you were mandated or remanded because of (poor) academic issues. It’s never been, but that’s what people think.”

For years Murfreesboro native Kim Hughes had a negative perception of Holloway until visiting the school and seeing firsthand what Drayton had brought to the now 87-year-old school.

Drayton recruited Hughes as a teacher.

“Students want to come to Holloway,” Hughes said.

No one is zoned for Holloway. Instead it is a school of choice.

Read more about Holloway, including their plans for their Open House on Tuesday the 26th

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