A crowd in excess of 200 citizens turned out on November 5, 2018, at Harper Elementary for the first of two meetings to hear information about the Thomasville City Schools Strategic Facilities Plan that is mandated by the Georgia Department of Education. Board of Education Chairman, Chris Rodd opened the meeting by telling the group that no decisions have been made and that the process will begin in January. Rodd expressed that he hopes participation is this strong as the board goes through the process going into 2020 and invited solutions through letters, emails, and calls in addition to welcoming presence at meetings that are open to the public. Dr. Reichert explained the current state of district expenditures, the different sources that provide funds for the district, and considerations like comparing ‘new construction’ or ‘modernization’ of existing buildings. Multiple speakers in the audience were allowed to express their concerns and opinions on the district’s use of facilities and structure of the schools. The second meeting will be on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at the Thomasville HIgh School cafeteria
Harper Elementary students had the chance to honor veterans during its Veterans Day Program, “Operation Gratitude.” Pre-K children sang "Thank You Veterans" and Kindergarten classes sang "Yankee Doodle." James Workman then led the first through fifth grade in "A Tribute to the Armed Services" with songs saluting each branch of the military and ending in the finale: "America the Beautiful." The Thomasville High School AFJROTC served as the Color Guard and the THS String Orchestra provided patriotic music at the opening and closing of the ceremony. Harper alumni and sixth grader, BriAnn Freeman was the student guest speaker who addressed the veterans with a poem. Harper teacher and Navy Veteran, Terry Howell was the keynote speaker.
Howell shared with the audience that the best way to honor veterans is to be something bigger than oneself, whether it's family, church, or school.
“I promise you that if you don't live your life for something bigger than yourself, you will look back on your life and be sad. I also promise you that if you live your life for something bigger than yourself, you will look back on your life and be happy," said Howell.
Harper Special Education Lead Teacher and AVID Coordinator Mrs. Holly Allan said, “The opportunity to hear about Mr. Howell’s military experience was a very inspirational moment for our students. His encouragement and focus on service and commitment are consistent with his daily message and actions with Harper students. We are proud to honor Veterans and we are encouraged by their commitment to serve others.”
Inspiration was electric through the halls of Jerger Elementary School during a full-day visit from Caldecott Medal illustrator Jerry Pinkney in early November.
After early morning small group sessions with the youngest students at Jerger where he shared his personal sketchbook, he was greeted by a “rock star” reception as the older students cheered his entry into the gymnasium for back-to-back assemblies.
Pinkney shared stories of his journey as a young boy who began drawing at the age of 2. Through his childhood, Pinkney always had his sketchbook with him while working at a newspaper stand in Philadelphia, and there he met cartoonist John Liney who illustrated the comic strip “Henry.“ Pinkney said that the “seed of possibility” was planted when he realized the it was possible to make a living as an artist. Pinkney later would become one of the most famous names in children’s literature.
Jerger Media Specialist Marcia Millere was excited to have an illustrator of this caliber.
“He’s also really gifted in the way he presents to the children,” said Millere.
Pinkney explained how his dyslexia and learning difference did not stand in the way of his dreams. He credited teachers who knew that he wanted to learn, but knowing that he had difficulties allowed him to draw pictures to illustrate his knowledge.
“I realized there was something that I could do that other students couldn’t do as well,” said Pinkney.
He found that his visual arts talent would be the real difference and encouraged the students to find their talents and instilled the message: “Everyone has a gift.”