Our opinion: Good things happening in our community

Published 1:17 pm Saturday, May 4, 2019

This week we want to recognize a just a few people who make our community a better to place to live, work, and raise our families.
• Sumter County Schools Superintendent, Torrance Choates, Ed.D., wants the local public school system to be the best in all areas: academics (now tied with Schley County Schools in test scores), athletics, and facilities (ground will be broken on new high school complex in June). With that in mind, Choates, in his three years here, has removed educators who refuse to get with the program, focused on curriculum and teacher development, and solved most of the discipline problems in the system. Earlier this week, he announced that the 2019 Americus-Sumter High School graduation ceremony will be different this year: yelling and screaming and other histrionics will not be tolerated so that each and every graduate’s name can be heard by friends and family. Should ceremony attendees insist in screaming out when their graduate’s name is called, a law enforcement officer will approach them, without negotiation and/or discussion, and they will be escorted outside. This is fair to everyone involved and we are behind Choates in his decision. That people would have to be reminded to behave civilly seems unnecessary, but sadly the graduation ceremonies have degenerated into chaos over the past few years, and Choates only seeks to restore the dignity, decorum, and gravity of the occasion. Thank you!
• We applaud the school nutrition workers in the public schools this week. During Georgia Grown Week in school nutrition, schools across the state served lunch on Wednesday featuring foods grown right here in Georgia. At Furlow Charter School’s Café Furlow, school food service manager Larry Jackson and his staff served up a delicious meal on Wednesday and invited people from the community as guests. His school nutrition staffers were also recognized as heroes on Friday, which they richly deserve. We commend them. “Instead of capes, they wear aprons!” It’s not easy coming up with foods that appeal to children and also meet the nutrition guidelines, but Martha Harvey, school nutrition director for Sumter County Schools, and all her staff at the school cafeterias in the school district do an excellent job! Not only do these fine women prepare healthy, nutritious food, they offer service with a smile! Thank you all.
• Luneda Brown, R.N., has officially hung up her stethoscope this week, after having served public health for 34 years! She’s shared the journey of thousands of mothers awaiting the birth of their child, some very, very young themselves. She’s seen many innovations in medicine and science during her tenure and has kept abreast of the changing world that is impacted by STDs, tuberculosis, HIV, and AIDS. She’s counseled young people on abstinence and birth control, and shown young mothers how to care for their babies. She’s been a great colleague as well as leader, and her friendly smile will be greatly missed in the halls of the Sumter County Health Department. We wish her the best and thank her for her great service to our community.