October 29, 2013 10:35:16 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
As my first high school reunion rapidly approaches, I take some time to visit my previously attended schools and reflect on where our school district is today opposed to merely 10 years ago. Much has changed and I know that is called "life"; yet, I am really at awe at how much has changed and not always for the best. Many point to the lack of leadership as the suits and ties squabble over agendas filled with pay-raise requests rather than our school districts failing test scores. Though I agree the school board should move a bit more aggressively to find some resolutions to the many issues within the school district, we must not overlook the fact that times simply change, and we must adapt with them to ensure we do not lose our focus on the students and their achievement.
Take for instance social media; 10 years ago few knew about Facebook. There were no iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Nooks, twitter accounts, or any of the current games that are the focus of today's youth. The technology curve continues to grow, yet we find that most local school districts move slowly to make adjustments for modern communication, research and learning tools. The students hold access to the entire world in their jacket pockets and book bags, and they are forbidden to use it. In some Mississippi school districts, they are piloting BYOD -- "bring your own device," which allows students to do research, make calculations, and communicate across the country and world. There is not a better way to engage students and keep their attention, but our school leaders and teachers refuse to embrace learning with technology. It is time to move into the 21st century.
Even at sporting events, I can see a vast difference from 10 years ago. I am surely no auditor, yet to the naked eye attendance is down a lot in a community that via census numbers has grown in the last years. With parent and community involvement down, there seems to be some obvious work ahead of us to improve our school system. School events used to be the focus for all parents and many community members, but today that is definitely not the case. It is time to return to some basic family values and place our children at the top of the list and support ALL of their activities.
I am a new parent to the district, and I am challenging myself to do my part to make things better. I want to make sure I am doing the things that will aid my child and other children. I have challenged myself to be part of the solution and not an addition to the problem our school district currently faces. One may say, "Well his child is only in elementary school," and that would be a solid point. Yet I am a product of this exact school district, and I have seen it in a much more stable and positive state. I feel like as an alumnus of Columbus School District it is my responsibility to ensure we remain firm in some of the values and principles that were taught in our school system. I hope my peers and other community members will see that it is important and join me in the crusade to restore a sense of pride and prestige in all schools in our city.
With industries moving to the area, many including myself, feel the Golden Triangle has many bright days ahead, and just as we lead the pack in the mid 90's, it is my belief we can do the same during this resurgence. We have to adjust our methods of community involvement and bring some fresh innovative, well-organized entertainment here for the youth and adults. I can remember an arcade, a go-kart track, being involved with the CAFB youth programs, even attending annual Kids with Character Camps. All these activities reinforced our growth and development within the community. This is not to say no quality activities still exist, but it is time to get more children involved. The then-attendees are now the parents, and it is time for us to reinforce some of those same qualities that where instilled in us into the youth of today. It is like the saying goes "It takes a village to raise a child." It is time for our village to wake up and get involved.
George Lowe, graduate of Columbus High, class of 2004, recently moved back to Columbus after working in the music business in Atlanta. He is married and the father of two. His email address is email@example.com.
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