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Aviators recognized at BOE meeting

The January meeting of the Decatur County Board of Education began with a new member and the election of the board’s leadership.

Bobby Barber, the only new member of the board, began his term representing District 5 while Dr. Sydney Cochran was re-elected as board chairperson and Jacky Grubbs was re-elected as the vice-chairperson for 2009.

Col. Gary Breedlove of the Bainbridge High School JROTC recognized members of the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) Chapter 445 in Tallahassee. The chapter and its members have been instrumental in the success of the Young Eagle program system-wide. The program, founded in 1953 by the EAA, encourages children and young people to explore the world of aviation.

“In 2005, we had our first Young Eagle project at Bainbridge, since then, we have had five and they have flown 350 kids with 60 percent being non-JROTC cadets, from elementary school to high school,” Col. Breedlove said.

“These guys do this with their airplanes, their time and their gas on Saturdays, and sometimes on Fridays. They have been of tremendous service to our JROTC program,” continued Breedlove.

Breedlove also thanked the chapter for the sponsorship of BHS students to attend the Advanced Air Academy for high school students in Oshkosh, Wis. For the past three years, the chapter has sent BHS students, with all expenses paid, to the academy.

“I made the claim to Mr. Howell (BHS principal Tommie Howell), that Bainbridge High School is the only high school in America to have three students who are graduates from this program. That’s because of the efforts of these guys,” Breedlove said.

The three students that Breedlove made reference to are Jessica Merritt, Derek Akins and Tiffany Blocker.

In other business, Roy Mathews of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency presented certificates to each of the county’s principals in recognition of re-approved safety plans. Each school’s, along with the central office’s, safety plans must to reviewed and approved by the GEMA every three years.

Dr. Florence Harrell, principal at Lillian E. Williams Elementary School, recognized first-grade teacher Vera Mathews as the recipient of a $500 field trip grant from Target stores. After buying school supplies from the Target in Dothan, Ala., Mathews submitted an essay and was awarded the grant.

Ronnie Durham of the central office, Antwoin Wilson of Bainbridge High School and Ortha Wilson of West Bainbridge Elementary were recognized as custodians of the month.