CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Harding High School is redefined. Nearly 1,100 new students will attend the Charlotte high school Thursday.
Ebony Wallace is one of them.
"[There's] a little nervousness, excitement. I'm just ready to start the year," the rising junior said while attending an open house at Harding on Tuesday.
Wallace may be looking to the future but her clothing displayed a sign of the past. Wallace was wearing a t-shirt from her former high school - Waddell High - and though she had to navigate around a new building, she still ran into her Waddell classmates.
But the purpose of the open house was more than just a chance to reacquaint with old friends and learn a new building. This was a time for students and parents to get another look at their new school.
Last year, amid great controversy and a mounting budget deficit, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board voted to close Waddell High School. About 80 percent of Waddell's students will attend Harding this school year and many have visited the campus during previous tours and open house nights. Some have even emailed the principal and administration.
"We're prepared for the transition," said Harding High Principal Alicisa Johnson.
Since the closing, she's had one thing in mind.
"I want them to feel welcome. I want them to be a part of the school. This is a new Harding and I want all the students to feel like they're a part of the school," she said.
To make the new students feel welcome and a part of their school, Johnson postponed Student Council elections until the start of this school year. She also hired Waddell's football coach and several teachers. In addition, she named three former Waddell teachers as department heads at Harding.
Cathy Simpson likes what she sees.
"Hopefully the transition will be smooth," she said. "I'm excited. Sometimes change is good. We welcome change."