June 16, 2018 11:10:39 PM
A rose to all the Dads out there today. Although today is known as "Father's Day," we much prefer to think of it as "Dad's Day." The word "father" conveys something of a distance in a relationship. It's a title and a legal definition, but a "Dad" is the kind of guy you relate to. He is not some austere, scowling presence passing judgment from above. While the term "Dad" does carry a degree of authority, it also exudes a warmth, a closeness, a bond. Everyone has a father, but if you're fortunate enough to have a Dad, you have someone who's in your corner and in your heart. This, then, is the day we celebrate all those fathers who've become more than fathers. They are Dads. That's a wonderful thing to be.
A rose to organizers, volunteers and sponsors for another great week of camp at Camp Rising Sun. Now in its 31st year, Camp Rising Sun provides children who have been diagnosed with cancer, along with a friend of their choice, a week full of non-stop activities. For many, it's a chance to feel like a normal kid again with children who have that common bond of cancer. Since it's founding, the camp has taken place at Camp Pratt, which was owned by the Frank Phillips YMCA. Last year, the Y sold the property to Ron Harper, citing high maintenance costs. Already, Harper has made significant upgrades, most notably in the mess hall/kitchen, with more to come. The improved amenities only improve the camp experience for Camp Rising Sun campers.
A rose to Tierra Ledbetter, whose story should serve as an inspiration. Last week, Ledbetter was honored as Mississippi's state-wide Exchange Club Accepting the Challenge of Excellence Award winner, which she vied for after winning the same award on the school and local club levels. She will now be among those who are considered for the national award. Ledbetter's story of overcoming challenges, which she detailed in her award-winning essay, began with the death of her mother, who was shot and killed when she was just a week old. She and her sister Qula were raised by their grandparents, both of whom passed away on the same day last year from congestive heart failure. Despite those tragic events, Ledbetter was an outstanding student, graduating with honors from Columbus High School last month while also holding down a job. Her story is a reminder that when the challenges of life are not seen as obstacles, but as opportunities, anything is possible.
A rose to the Columbus Municipal School District for putting its money where it's mouth is. While much is said about the critical importance of good teachers in the educational process, CMSD put those sentiments into action last week. District teachers will see incentive bonuses based on state accountability ratings starting December 2019. The CMSD Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously approved the Teacher Incentive Pay Plan to reward faculty and staff at CMSD for students' performance on state testing. The policy will begin with the 2018-19 school year, with monetary bonuses awarded in December 2019. Teachers, assistant teachers and support staff will all receive bonuses under the new policy if they work at a campus that shows improvement. CMSD is funding the program itself and will not replace any state incentives or local supplements provided to district faculty. We believe these bonuses will serve as not only an incentive, but as recognition for those teachers whose roles are so critical in the success of our children. It's money well-spent and well-earned.