The first day of school is a milestone for the family of every incoming kindergartener, but Aug. 26 was especially meaningful for one family ushering in the third generation of attendance at Wrightsville Beach School.
Brett Blizzard, who attended WBS from 1957 to 1962, said he is excited for his grandson, Deaglan Alexander, to attend the same school.
“Wrightsville Beach School has always been a dear part of my childhood memories and I hope it can do the same for my grandchildren,” Blizzard said.
It was a different time when Blizzard was there, a time when a game of marbles was the preferred activity at recess and the stoplights on the island stopped blinking during quiet winter months. He said the sense of a small-town community lives on at Wrightsville Beach School as the island changes and grows.
His daughter, Katie Alexander, grew up on the island and attended Wrightsville Beach School during the 1980s. She said she always hoped her children would be able to experience a family away from home at the school.
“I had a dream as soon as I even considered having kids of my own that they would go there, and it has just worked out that way. In fact, every time one of my old teachers would leave, I would get this little ache in my heart,” Alexander said.
A kindergarten teacher at Wallace Elementary School in Duplin County, Alexander said the atmosphere of support at Wrightsville Beach School is rare.
“Wrightsville Beach School is very family oriented. It’s loving and warm, and I wanted him to experience that. Everybody’s very close. Everybody knows each other,” Alexander said.
Principal MaryPaul Beall said the school is able to provide that atmosphere with support from parents and the larger Wrightsville Beach community.
“All of the families that are here do look at the school as having a lot of community support, not only from the families in the school but also from the Wrightsville Beach community,” Beall said.
Teachers are also key players in preserving the school’s unique character. Beall said new additions to the staff are selected based on appreciation of the school’s legacy as well as dedication to children and education.
“We select teachers based on what is going to be a good fit for the school, and you want teachers that can come in and understand the culture of Wrightsville Beach,” Beall said.
Beall pointed to the school’s growth as an indication of its success.
“The school’s designed for 180 students and we have over 350. You can tell that people want to come to Wrightsville Beach,” Beall said.