School year has officially begun

Published 7:12 pm Friday, August 1, 2014

Yesterday was a big day for over 5,000 students, about 700 employees and untold numbers of parents and family members. Friday was the first day of the 2014-2015 Decatur County School schedule.
I know it was a big day for my new high school student, my daughter McKenzie, entering the ninth grade and my new third grader, my son Judson. Both were excited, and somewhat anxious, about what the new school year would have in store for them.
After attending open houses Thursday afternoon at both Bainbridge High School and John Johnson Elementary School, my long-standing feeling about the Decatur County School system was reaffirmed.
We are fortunate, in this county, to be able to send our children to high quality schools. All the teachers that I met with at both schools were friendly, inviting and genuinely seemed excited to meet their new students. I am sure that feeling was spread among all eight Decatur County Schools.
Both principals, Tommie Howell and Tami Godwin, were very visible and stood ready to help answer questions or point parents and students in the right direction. That’s a reassuring and comforting feeling for a parent.
Our teachers and administrators are critiqued often and I believe that is natural—during the school year, they spend just as much time on a weekly basis with our children as the parents do. They have a huge responsibility in the community and have much influence in children lives.
Is our school system perfect? No, it is not. But our school system is pretty darned good. Often, when I talk to people who are overly critical of the school system, I ask this question—what’s your comparison? Many times, there is no comparison.
Well, the town my family left in northeastern North Carolina six years ago to relocate to Bainbridge had a poor school system. I mean, so poor that a federal judge in Raleigh, North Carolina, issued an order that if the system did not show marked improvement in six months, then he would order a takeover of the system. That’s my comparison.
Just remember when a small issue, or even a big issue, arises from our school system, that there are millions of parents all over the country that would relish at the chance to send their children to schools of as high a quality as the ones we have right here.
And, we are fortunate to have a high-quality alternative for parents who choose not to utilize the Decatur County School System. Grace Christian Academy is that high quality alternative.
To all the teachers, the administrators and the support staff, I hope you have a great year and thanks for what you do.
To all the students and parents, I hope you also have a great year and take advantage of what our schools have to offer.

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