Student recognition drives Board of Education meeting

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Kalli Drake Staff Writer

From the state runner-up Morgan County High School (MCHS) Basketball team to the state champion MCHS Academic Bowl team, the April 13 meeting of the Morgan County Board of Education began by acknowledging the accomplishments of students in all areas of academic life.

Coaches Jamond Sims and Jonathon Nelson and the MCHS Boys Basketball team were recognized for their efforts all season that led them to finishing runners-up in this year’s state tournament.

“It’s been a pleasure this year watching some of these guys just work and get the job done,” Sims said. Sims announced to the meeting attendees that one of the first expectations set out for the season was for the team to make it back to the state title game at the end of the season. He believes the team had higher expectations of themselves than anyone else placed on them all season.

The representatives of the team that were present were Josiah Mitchell, Jermaine Alexander, Damarion Thomas, Emmanuel Little, Jailyn Ingram and Joseph Rogers. Rogers took the opportunity to thank attendees as he remembered seeing many of their faces in the crowd at various points during the season. “It helps a lot with our support, so I just wanted to say thank you for that,” Rogers said. Sims was also grateful for the support of the community members and the Board of Education.

“Thank you to the fans, friends, administration and teaching staff for the continued support throughout our season,”Sims said. Also recognized at the meeting was the MCHS FFA Parliamentary Procedures CDE team that participates in competitions that challenge them to perform certain tasks, skills and situations that arise in parliamentary procedure with efficient and polished execution. Recognized members were Annalyn Butler, Allison Hawk, Tyler Finch, Jonathan Garner, James Cagle and Patrick Serage. The members performed a demonstration of parliamentary procedure on the topic of having an orientation session for freshman members of FFA. “I wish our board meetings could run that quickly and smoothly,” said Vice-Chairman Keith Howard.

The board also recognized two participants in the Governor’s Honors Program, Dana Hicky for art, and alternate Katelyn Allgood for music, specifically saxophone. To be accepted, Hicky had to create a portfolio that was evaluated and take an art test, while Allgood went through an interview process and performed an audition. Accepted students attend a four-week summer program at Valdosta State University in their respective areas, and these two were selected out of thousands of students from the state of Georgia.

Finally, the board recognized the state champion Academic Bowl team of Zoe Hamilton, Komaloreet Kaur, Sam Jones, Cameron McCanless, Alex Quillan, Jody Johnson and Dylan Meyer. “It’s always a pleasure to recognize the accomplishments of our students, especially because we have students that excel both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities,” said Chairman Nelson Hale. In other business, superintendent James Woodard discussed the plans moving forward with the College and Career Academy. The next step for the academy is to survey local businesses and students to gauge what kind of programs that there is a need for in the academy and what programs students want to see and participate in. The purpose is to identify the technical and professional skills that have need demonstrated, and then decide how to go about implementing programs that align with those. The surveys are going out this week, and final responses and recommendations will be prepared by May 13. At that time, the outline for the grant application will be created.

“It’s moving forward, and we’re looking forward to having that piece in our school system,” Woodard said. The alignment of schools within the charter school system is one goal that each member of the board, staff and educators are all working towards across the schools in Morgan County. This will involve eliminating the high school’s charter and unifying with the system’s charter.

The next couple of months will bring efforts to begin the process of aligning, and Superintendent Woodard hopes to have a petition to the state Board of Education in May to terminate the high school’s charter in order to align with the system’s charter. By July 1, the schools are expected to be aligned as a charter system. “We are one Morgan, and each school builds on itself to go to the next school, and we want to focus on having kids ready for transitions all the way through K-12, and this is a step towards that,” Hale said.

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