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25 years later and program comes full circle

By PAT BROWN,

I t was 25 years ago just after we had moved to town and taken the position with the newspaper that we were invited to the Magee Adopt-a-School meeting. 

  Way back then, Rick Venable was chairing the committee.  If memory serves correctly, a year or so later I would chair Adopt-a-School for the next several years before passing the baton to Larry Cockrell.

   Somewhere along the way, the program ended.

  Last week the Magee Adopt-a-School program relaunched at Magee High School.  The goal is to build a support network for our public schools and to improve communication between local public education and the business community. 

   Over 20 people attended the first meeting, and it appears that this program  is going to get revitalized. 

    So what is Adopt-a- School all about? 

-Sometimes it’s about offering physical help such as members serving as  judges for student projects.

-It could be about helping to implement various teaching ideas.

-It could be about committing to hosting students for the job shadowing program.

-It could be about showing local support to the school system.

-The real goal is to develop relationships in the school system and community.

   It works like this: the adopter or business has a choice of which school they would like to help support; then  they meet with the school’s administration and some of the staff. 

  The plan is to get the privator sector and school system working together to improve the public school system. 

    The goal now is to have six meetings during the school year, three each semester.  The meetings are dependent on the school system and have to work around issues like testing. 

   The first meeting was held at the Magee High School Library.  The next meeting is set for Thursday, March 22, at 10 a.m. at the new Magee Elementary facility. 

    The meetings typically begin with an overview of what is occurring at each campus.  Then the big group breaks down into smaller groups where specifics are discussed with adopters.

    If you would like additional information about the Adopt-a-School program or you have an interest in participating, you may contact Pat Brown at 601-849-3434 or Joni Johnson at PriorityOne Bank at 601-849-4960, or call Doris Adcox at the Magee Chamber of Commerce at 601-849-2517.  

    The discussion about revitalizing the program started as a part of the P-16 Committee that is working with the local schools to help improve test scores as well as disseminating information about the schools.

   In early December a meeting was held at the Magee Elementary School, and Dr. Lawrence, MES principal, mentioned how helpful it was to have the help of Adopt-a-School supporting projects at the elementary.  At this point contacts made within the business community and it was determined that the program could be rejuvenated.

  Some really good programs are already going on with people like Ralph Walker and Charles Funchess, who are working as mentors to our children in the school system with the Big Man on Campus program. 

    It is time for us to do our part and help support our public schools through whatever program individual citizens would like.  We need to step in now to fill whatever role is needed to improve our schools.

   The future of our community depends on it.