September 14, 2013 10:38:27 PM
Roses and thorns
A rose to our area schools, the majority of whom showed some progress over the past year based on the Mississippi Department of Education state testing scores. Of particular note was Oktibbeha County, which went into state conservatorship last year, but improved dramatically to earn a "C" or "successful" status. Lowndes County Schools meanwhile again earned a "B" or "high performing rating. Individually, Caledonia Elementary earned a "A" or "star" rating for the fourth straight year, the only Golden Triangle school to earn that distinction. Earning "B" ratings were New Hope Elementary, New Hope Middle, West Lowndes Elementary, Sale Elementary, West Oktibbeha Elementary and Ward-Stewart Elementary. Additionally, Columbus High moved from "F" or "failing" to a "D." We are pleased to see our schools moving in a positive direction even though some have far to go. Progress, however small, is better than the alternative and students, staff, teachers, administrators and parents can take heart in that.
A rose to the Columbus High School's football team, which turned in the biggest upset of the year so far with a surprisingly easy 41-14 win over West Point on Friday. The stars for the Falcons were running back Kendrick Conner and linebacker Damian Moore. Conner ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns while Moore had three tackles for loss, a sack and forced a fumble. Of particular note, the Falcons defense held Aeris Williams, widely regarded as the state's top running back, to just 46 yards on 20 carries. The Falcons are now 2-1 and flying high.
A rose to Columbus attorney Gordon Flowers of the firm of Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC , who was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (2014 edition). Flowers was recognized for his practice in a several areas of litigation.
A rose to all those who helped honor First Responders this week. The Columbus Boys and Girls Club honored "all who serve" during a Thursday event while first responders from the city of Columbus and Lowndes County were honored Friday at the Trotter Center and courthouse. It was a fitting act of remembrance as we honored the memory of those who lost their lives 12 years ago on 9/11. Many of those victims were first responders who sacrificed their lives to save others. We will likely never forget 9/11, nor should we forget those first responders in our own communities who stand ready to make a similar sacrifice.
A rose to Starkville School District Assistant Superintendent Toriano Holloway who has helped the school system with one of its most pressing issues a little more than a year since his hiring: The district has now worked out many of the kinks surrounding its transportation system. Holloway, who brought with him experience of working with transportation issues in his previous positions, told the SSD Board of Trustees Tuesday the school's bus system is now transporting about 2,818 students per day, an increase of about 560 children from last year.
School routes now predominantly transport like-aged students, improving upon routes last year which intermingled children of various ages, he said. The change has helped decrease discipline referrals and also helped entice parents to allow their children to ride the bus in a safe environment. Nothing beats creativity and efficiency, as Holloway's efforts clearly demonstrate.