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21st century grant celebrates success

Halifax County Public Schools celebrated success of the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant Wednesday night honoring the partners with a reception held at Halifax County High School.

School administrators, middle and high school staff, students and various community partners listened to a PowerPoint presentation given by the Halifax County middle and high school grant coordinators before enjoying dinner prepared by Steve Schopen and his culinary arts students.

Halifax County Middle School Coordinator Sandra Garner-Coleman told attendees the program is a three-year grant program, and the school system has successfully received the second three-year grant.

According to Coleman, the program offers an after school program, tutoring, development activities, recreation and character development. Students are able to play games, practice teamwork, general social skills and Standards of Learning preparation.

“About two weeks before the SOLs we go into SOL mode,” said Coleman.

The middle and high school programs set goals for at least five family members to receive their GED, and both programs have exceeded that goal, according to Coleman, with attendance in the program at the high school expected to increase significantly.

Understanding that the SOL tests for math have changed and are more rigorous, Coleman said, “We will meet that challenge.”

Before dinner was served, high school coordinators Coleman and Angela Abdi, middle school coordinators Gwen Smith-Mangum and Julia Powell joined to present a jingle they had sung at a presentation in New Orleans to the tune of a Temptations’ song.

The future goal for the program is to continue through with the remainder of the grant and “work while it’s good now” and hope the funds become available to continue.

“You have to have a passion for helping the children,” said Coleman.

The partners, Chamber of Commerce, Southside Virginia Community College, 4H, GED program and East Hyco Road Ruritan Club, were recognized.

Southside Virginia Community College Vice President of Adult Education and Grants Linda Sheffield said she was excited to once again partner with the schools.

“I’m looking forward to working with you,” said Sheffield.

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon told attendees, “It is events like these that we know why we’re really truly here. Please keep doing great things.”

Halifax County High School student James Edmunds and GED graduate Linda Carrington told their two success stories.

“The program helped me score higher on the SOLs, and because of the program I plan to further my education,” said Edmunds, a high school senior.

“Anyone who keeps learning stays young…receiving the GED was one of my greatest accomplishments,” said Carrington.

Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Pool expressed what a honor and pleasure it was to be in attendance and to celebrate the successful program.

“It warms my heart,” said Pool after hearing the success stories. “This is it, this is what will keep us moving forward.” 

Herndon closed the program with a few remarks.

“I’ll always be your cheerleader…Please continue to enjoy what you’re doing. Thank you,” Herndon concluded.

Attendees were given free T-shirts at the conclusion of the reception.

For more information on the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, contact the Halifax County High School at 572-4977 or the Halifax County Middle School at 572-4100.