BRIDGEPORT - The principal of Harding High School in Bridgeport became the recipient of the First Year Principal of the Year Award Wednesday.

Carol Birks says she knows that changing the face of Harding High School will be a daunting task, but she says she can do it with the help of her students and staff.

Birks, a Harding alumnus, says that during her school years she had faced the same challenges that every student is facing today.

"People like to see our homegrown person, that we've planted seeds in that person's life, and now they're successful," Birks says. "And we want to continue on and help nurture that."

She says establishing a core curriculum competitive with other schools and boosting the relationship between students and teachers will put Harding on the right track.

"She represents an image of Harding High School that says, 'Listen, irrespectively of your background, you can make difficult decisions to succeed in life,'" says Harding teacher Garfield Pilliner.