Parker drives students to success with 495 policy


Photo by Eli Hausman

Principal Rick Parker with an official 495 road sign in his office.

Story by Kate Carroll, Editor-in-Chief

When freshman Emma Bowley first encountered a 495 sign, she was a little confused about what it was for.

“I thought it was for a highway,” Bowley said. “That’s really what I thought.”

The 495 initiative is the newest brainchild of principal Rick Parker, who put the idea together over the summer after some inspiration from his pastor.

“I was at church and I heard it in a sermon where the preacher had “one sixty seven” spelled out for us,” Parker said. “I went through the sermon where it talked about how one day a week, you go to church and you give sixty minutes, but what if you turned it into seven days a week and be all in for God seven days a week.”

Parker knew that he wanted to create a message like the one in that sermon that could apply to the students at East. He wasn’t sure what to do with it until one day when the idea hit him.

“I started thinking and I said ‘well, we have four periods, they are each 90 minutes and we go to school five days a week,’” Parker said. “Then I said ‘wait a minute, the highway is 485. Man, I could make a road sign that says 495 and then we’re on the road with four periods, 90 minutes, five days a week.’”

From there, Parker took the idea and ran with it. He called the CMS graphics offices and asked them to design the 495 road sign logo that is now posted around the school.

“It’s all about getting ready for college and careers and moving along the road,” Parker said.

As the start of the school year moved closer, Parker took the initiative a step further.

“I reached out to the sign department in CMS and told them ‘here’s what it [the 495 sign] looks like, can you make me a real one?’” Parker said. “So now when parents drop their kids off, they will be getting on highway 495 and they are taking the road to success.”

Since the new school year, students have become more aware of the 495 initiative and appreciate the message.

“It showed me that he [Parker] cared about all of the students,” Bowley said.

“To me, since I am motivated to learn, it works like a countdown to remind me how long I have until graduation,” senior Gabriela Silva said.

As the school year progresses, Parker hopes for 495 to make a long-lasting impact at East. He even appreciates when people don’t know what it means.
“My big thing is that I’m big on motivation and I want kids to remember something that’s catchy,” Parker said. “I want people to say ‘what’s 495?’ so that I can say ‘let me tell you. It’s four periods, 90 minutes, five days a week.’”