The first bell rings in 10 minutes, but no cars line the road outside to drop off students. While other schools clog major thoroughfares with traffic, a lone car pulls up to North Charleston High every few minutes for a drowsy teen to roll out. Two park in the entire student lot.
The rest ride school buses or walk. Several arrive on CARTA buses. They don’t have cars. Most of their families don’t either. Virtually all qualify for the free and reduced-price breakfast being cooked inside, with its aroma of warm eggs wafting from the cafeteria doors, a homey hello.
Anthony Ludwig’s door swings shut for first-period psychology class. It’s just past the winter break and into the chilly slog toward spring. A young guy from Philly, Ludwig grabs a thermos of coffee to begin laps around the perimeter of the classroom, bullhorn voice explaining life’s stages.