The kids are alright: Farmington, North principals talk transition

On September 3, hundreds of former Harrison High students will walk through the doors of Farmington and North Farmington High Schools.

Their principals on Tuesday talked with Farmington Public Schools trustees about the transition made necessary by Harrison’s closure in June. Joe Greene (North Farmington) and Tom Shelton (Farmington) noted that staff from the district and both high schools have worked for three years to prepare for the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.

Shelton said the belief has been that “kids are going to have the easiest time with this, and that’s what we’re seeing.”

Blended sports teams

Greene talked about the movement of Harrison’s powerhouse football program to North; Harrison assistant coach John Herstein is now North’s head coach, with legendary Harrison head coach John Herrington also part of the coaching staff.

While the Hawks may have wondered whether their new teammates would take the game as seriously, and the Raiders may have felt like they were “walking into the Harrison machine,” Greene said, “they’ve both really impressed each other.”

“We’ve heard from parents, students, and coaches that the sports teams have blended very well,” he said.

Inside the buildings, Farmington will see the largest influx of students. Shelton said staff has developed a master schedule, and “the teacher traveling (within the building) is not what everybody expected it to be. The schedule we’ve developed for teachers and students is very humane for both and workable.”

Students coming from Harrison and any who are new to Farmington High are invited to attend Principals, Popsicles & Popcorn, a community event hosted by the school’s PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) on August 26, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. In addition, the annual LINK orientation program will welcome freshman to both buildings next week.

Trustee Jessica Cummings asked where parents and students should bring their transition concerns and questions. Shelton said administrative teams at both high schools “are ready and would like those questions to come directly to us.”

”A lot of times, I’m hearing things in the community, a lot of them are based in things that just aren’t true,” he said. 

Greene said people can call the main office. “A significant portion of the time, our amazing front office staff can provide answers or funnel those questions to us.”

‘Once a Hawk, Always a Hawk

Trustee Terry Johnson asked whether student athletes who have earned Harrison letters can swap them for their new school’s.

“We haven’t talked specifically about it, but we’ve definitely talked about great flexilibty in all those kinds of situations,” Shelton said.

Students will also be welcome to wear their Harrison gear, the principals said. In fact, Harrison’s emblem is already part of both schools.

The “Once a Hawk Always a Hawk” emblem hangs just inside the front door at Farmington High, next to the Falcon emblem. “That’s the message we’re sending our students and staff,” Shelton said.

While Harrison’s emblem hasn’t been placed at North due to construction, Greene said it will sit next to the Raider emblem that seniors traditionally touch when they walk out of the building for the last time.

“The last thing you touch when you walk out the door will be where your heart is,” Greene said. “My hope would be that they would touch both.”

Watch the full discussion at

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