CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — High School students and teachers have welcomed three new staff members including Andrew Hardegree who graduated from Port A High School in 2013.
“I love coming into work every day, the students are great they want to participate, they are amazing," Hardegree said. "I finally feel like I belong somewhere."
Hardegree teaches 10th through 12th grade and just about every math subject like algebra, calculus and computer science.
“It's been great so far, I've learned a lot and I'm excited for the rest of the year,” student Ellis Burill said.
Not long ago , Hardegree walked through the halls of Port A High School but he says it looked a bit different then.
“I grew up in a traditional classroom where we were all facing the board all 2 or 3 feet away from other desks," he said. "I have arranged desks where we are kinda 3 to 6 feet apart."
After graduating from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and a career in engineering, Hardegree made his way back to Port Aransas High School.
“COVID was going around it wasn’t ideal circumstance but I felt it was my time to move away from engineering,” says Hardegree.
David Swartwout, Port Aransas High School principal, says before school started Hardegree and other teachers had to prepare for the school year during a pandemic by covering COVID-19 protocols and student policies.
“So, they have ample time to do training, but they also get their classrooms ready and their curriculum and their instruction ready,” Swartwout said.
Swartwout says the preparation paid off as their first day of school was a success.
Students say they are happy to have new teachers on campus.
“I actually like it a lot because it gives us a better chance to understand our teachers outside of teaching,” student Elsa Temples said.
Swartwout says student enrollment is up at his school. There's just enough teachers to keep up with students at Port Aransas High School.