Your opinion: May 12, 2018

Published 1:42 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

Excitement mounts over College and Career Academy
We are so excited about the vision for Sumter County evidenced by a large number of stakeholders working on a college and career academy (CCA) to serve our county that we have jointly written and signed this letter to share with the readers of the Americus Times-Recorder.
This effort began as a group of people discussing ways to ensure Sumter County remains viable and vibrant for generations of families to come. These discussions were organized by One Sumter, co-funded by Sumter County Schools and South Georgia Technical College, and supported by Georgia Southwestern State University. Our discussions have transformed into a focused, strategic movement of community, industry, education, and elected leaders working together to bring about a new CCA.
As many in our community understand, employers have struggled to survive at times as markets and business practices have evolved. To ensure a community is competitive and provides an environment that supports the strong growth of current and future businesses, a community must always ensure it has many forms of infrastructure to meet industry needs. Water, sewer, roads, rail are all vitally important, but perhaps most important is an innovative, creative, analytical and fully prepared pipeline of workers to design and manufacture products and lead cutting-edge businesses. To this end, after and working together with numerous local, regional and state partners, we determined the route of a CCA was another important offering to ensure the success that we as business leaders and members of the community desire, and that our students deserve! Our students are some of the best and most capable around, and we want to ensure that they graduate from high school, consider and secure their college options, and prepare for careers as productive citizens. We have great leadership with our K-12 and higher education partners, and from an industry perspective a CCA is another valuable tool to engage with students at a much earlier age, providing them real-life experiences in our industries and preparing them for lifelong learning.
To share information about the CCA, we have partnered with marketing students in Ms. Alicia Green and Mr. Brooks Robinson’s classes with Sumter County Schools. On Tuesday, May 15th, the students will oversee a “social media takeover “using industry leading technology, and we invite you all to join us, see the videos the students have produced, help us select a possible name for the CCA, and learn more. If you are active on social media, visit the Americus Times Recorder, Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, One Sumter, or Sumter County Schools Facebook pages. We believe you will be pleasantly surprised, and we hope seriously impressed, by the creativity and capabilities of our students working together with industry to lead what we all believe will be a game changer for Sumter County.
If you would like to actively engage with our pursuit of a CCA as a student, parent, community or business leader, we invite you to do so. There are several public information sessions planned that can be found on the calendar linked on the “College and Career Academy” homepage button at You may also call the One Sumter Economic Development Foundation for more information at (229) 924-2646. Please become informed and get involved in this exciting, transformational effort!
Brad Lafevers, Southeast Railcar; Paul Hall, Sumter County Development Authority; Teresa O’Bryant, Sumter County Development Authority; Lewis Webb, The DGR Group Inc.; Bill Harris Jr., Café Campesino; Ted McMillan, Sumter EMC; Elena Carne, Tepuy Activewear; Neal Weaver, Ph.D., Georgia Southwestern State University; John Watford, Ed.D., South Georgia Technical College; Torrance Choates, Ed.D.; Sumter County Schools; Barry Blount, Mayor, City of Americus; Alex Saratsiotis, Accelerated Physical Therapy; Russ Childers, Childers Insurance; Brandi Lunneborg, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center; Kim Christmas, PharmaCentra and Concentra Solutions; Jerry Cook, TCI Powder Coatings; Eshonda Blue, Innovative Senior Solutions; Tammye Pettyjohn Jones, retired, Advanced Manufacturing; Dwight Jones, Eaton Corporation; Reagan Barksdale, TSG/Resolute of Tenn.; Don Porter, Georgia Power Company; Rhett Simmons, Hooks Simmons Insurance; Dan Berman, PharmaCentra and Concentra Solutions; Blake Dukes, U.S. Screen Printing and Signs of Americus; Lori Gadson, New Horizons Habitat for Humanity; Russ Moore, Seamless Education Associates; Bud Forrest, retired, Advanced Manufacturing; Mike Donnelly; Lee and Faith Pinnell; Tracy Hall; Nichole Buchanan, Americus Times-Recorder; Mary Beth Bass; Ivy Oliver; Barbara Grogan

Please attend Peace Officers Memorial event
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC during Police Week to participate in planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Last year, we joined Nick and Jody’s families in Washington and participated in many of the Police Week events. The outpouring of love and support that we experienced that week was overwhelming and healing.
This year we will be observing Peace Officer Memorial Day with a ceremony here in Americus. The community is invited to join us at noon on May 15th at the Russel Thomas Public Safety Building, 119 S Lee Street. The ceremony will be modeled on the ceremony that takes place in Washington DC, and will include the reading of the names of the Americus and Sumter County officers who have given their lives in service to their communities. Representatives from the family of each officer will place a carnation on a memorial wreath as their family member’s name is called.
Seven officers have lost their lives in the line of duty since Sumter County was incorporated in 1831. We have made contact with three of the families, but need help in locating family members for the remaining four officers, who are listed below. Anyone who knows a member of one of these families is asked to contact Chief Mark Scott at the Americus Police Department at 229-924-3677.
From the Americus Police Department: From the Sumter County Sheriff Office:

Chief William Cyrus Barrow Sheriff John Kimmey
June 27th, 1913 December 11th, 1839
Lt. Homer Allen Lee
February 20th, 1923
Officer Mary Anne Barker
May 9th, 1983
Please take a moment during Police Week to thank a public safety officer for what they do. It is important for them to know that they have the support of the community in which they serve.
Chief Mark Scott
Americus Police Department