Riverdale Principal Tamera Blair has a quote framed and displayed behind her desk. “You can’t beat the person who never gives up,” reads the famous quote from Babe Ruth. It perfectly embodies the unwavering attitude of Blair, a 1987 graduate of Riverdale who is entering her third year as principal.
The school opened in 1972 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which makes for fortuitous timing to launch Riverdale’s new Honors College program. “We needed to pull us all together and have a common goal and purpose,” Blair said. “Parents like to know there is an end goal in mind for their students.” The intent is to help those students form a community within the larger school. Honors College students will participate in the highest levels of classes, engage in enrichment activities, and social functions throughout the year.
The program already boasts more than 150 students in the inaugural class. The application process will be opened again to invite any new students who didn’t have a chance to apply in the spring, said Kim Cerchiaro, an English teacher who is helping with the Honors College. “We want to make sure our students understand the challenges they may face if they do go to college and we want to prepare them,” Cerchiaro said. “We’re going to be working with professors from MTSU to come and talk to our students about their research, to talk about their college experience, and to go on college tours.”
In addition to MTSU, Riverdale hopes to engage relationships with other area universities, including Vanderbilt, Belmont, David Lipscomb and Trevecca. Students are looking forward to the camaraderie and other advantages the Honors College will provide. “It looks good on your resume and it can give you better opportunities in the future,” said junior Maddux Bodehamer, who plans to pursue a degree in communications and one day work for ESPN.
Fellow junior Kacy Momon — who recently won a sixth place finish for her digital arts piece at the National Beta Convention — agreed. “I saw a good opportunity and I wanted to take it. I felt the Honors College is really going to help me open doors for things I want to do in the future,” Momon said, specifically citing access to college programs and tours.
The Honors College community Riverdale aims to build is as much for parents as it is for students The school held a meet-and-greet last week for parents and students to mingle and network, and the event included activities such as corn hole, food trucks and music. Other social and academic events will be held throughout the year.
To learn more about the program, visit rhs.rcschools.net.