Norlina High School Class of 1980 member John Bullock continues his work of renovating the high school’s old campus for use as the AmenRa Institute of Higher Learning.
After graduating from Norlina, Bullock earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Central University of North Carolina in Durham and took courses in business management and cultural enrichment at Clark University in Atlanta. .
Bullock studied law at Abraham Lincoln University for a time before earning his master’s degree in public administration from NC Central. His career as a policy analyst has focused on cost-benefit analysis.
Bullock now applies his business background to the development of the AmenRa Institute of Higher Learning and serves as its Chancellor. After completing a program ranging from six months to one or two years, students would be prepared for work or could become entrepreneurs, he said.
“I’m trying to create a vocational school to train people in the necessities of Warren County,” Bullock noted.
He particularly wants to reach young people who may want the same lifestyle as the entertainers they watch on TV or who want quick access to wealth. Bullock aims to show them that they can succeed in achieving their dreams, but they have to work hard and be realistic.
He wants to develop programs to meet people’s interests and prepare them to find jobs in the real world.
So far, Bullock is renovating old classrooms in the high school’s main building to serve as teaching space for a range of interests, from a beauty salon to a recording studio. The former cafeteria space in the gymnasium building is being renovated for culinary science education.
Space on the former Norlina High School campus is currently used by businesses and organizations for seminary space, as a site for ministries and theological education, and as space for piano instruction and voice.
The site also provides space for a think tank and for teaching karaoke and spoken word.
Smaller buildings on the former NHS campus are used by an existing church and teacher training centre. The gymnasium is open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for basketball.
While the Institute is currently in the renovation phase, Bullock hopes to eventually add courses in political science and public administration, as well as seminars and courses on health issues, to what is currently underway. .
Many students have passed through the doors of Norlina High School over the years. Bullock envisions a time when the campus once again becomes an educational site, preparing students for jobs that will allow them to lead productive lives.