OAKMAN — Friday was a motivational day for students at Oakman High School.
Students had an atypical school day that was aimed at keeping strong attendance.
Principal Leathan Waid explained that teachers and administrators were concerned attendance would be low on Friday since parent visitation day and the school's football game was on Thursday. They all devised a plan where students would have a service day to spruce up the school and spend the morning learning about different activities their teachers enjoy.
"We wanted to give those teachers and those students an opportunity to see each other in a little different light and share some of those things that they're really knowledgeable about," Waid said.
"Some teachers have taught independent living skills, how to tie a tie, how to create a budget, how to apply for a job, resumes," assistant principal Natalie Carson said. "We've had some teachers that have done more hobby-type lessons, like gardening and guitar."
Another popular project of the day gave some students an opportunity to decorate a cake.
Carson and Waid said students responded well to learning about different hobbies, many of which were STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) driven.
"You can walk out in the hallways and you can see the kids showing off their cakes. They've got potted flowers they want to show you. They've asking to come take pictures. They're excited," Waid said.
After lunch, students spent the rest of the school day deep cleaning areas of the building with the help of their teachers.
"Part of that idea was for them to take pride in their school," Waid said.
LifeSouth was also at the school on Friday to do a blood drive. As of noon Friday, 25 students had given blood.
Carson said the school will have another serve/hobby day next year, and teachers are already thinking about other skills they can teach their students that would not be part of daily lessons.
"This is not much different than a normal day of school," Waid said. "These kids are sitting in class, they're learning something, and they're excited about it. This is what school is supposed to be. I think it's been a really good day."
And student attendance? Administrators say it was almost like a normal school day.