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Frustrated with school policies

To the editor:

I have two children enrolled in Halifax County public schools, and believe me when I say I spend a lot of time biting my tongue.

I bit my tongue when my son received perfect scores on SOLs for two years running and received no recognition for his accomplishment.

I do it when my children don’t get a fair amount of time for make-up work, even if they miss class to attend another school activity.

I bite my tongue when fundraisers require pickups during business hours, making it next to impossible for working parents to participate.

I even bit my tongue last year when an assistant principal suggested that we ignore the fact that my daughter was bullied because it was the last week of school.

Now I’m done biting my tongue.  I may not get what I want, need or expect from the schools, but I will not go away quietly.

Fifth grade students at South Boston Elementary School are required to leave their backpacks in  their homerooms all day.  The idea that other children may go through their belongings is, evidently, less bothersome than the idea that the children may take a few minutes of class time to pack their book bags for their next class or that they may have book bags on the floor beside their desks.  This is absurd.  I have met with the principals, and I have talked to the superintendent, and I have gotten nowhere.  

The options I’ve been given are to comply with the policy and hope that no one takes anything that belongs to my son, or to have him leave his backpack in the office for safekeeping all day.  Neither of these options is acceptable.  

Whether he has money, personal items or simply paper and pencils in his backpack, no other child should have the opportunity to access it, period.

Lest you think that I’m targeting one school, we’re having issues at Halifax County Middle School as well.  

My daughter has been ill this year and has just started homebound instruction.  If not for one teacher, to whom I am forever indebted for her kindness and dedication to my child, I might still be trying to help her along with her make-up work by myself.  No one in administration suggested homebound, even after weeks of absences that I reported to the attendance office, teachers and assistant principal.  

I have struggled to get textbooks, which should have been provided to us the minute her homebound application was approved.  One of her teachers has suggested that she get help from a classmate rather than provide us the materials we need.  

My daughter is seriously ill, and I have much more important things on my mind than begging for textbooks and assignments.  I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a little support from the school.

I don’t understand what’s going on in our schools this year.  Maybe my family is just having a particularly bad year.  Maybe I’m approaching it wrong.  Maybe we’ve had too many personnel changes in the county.  All I know is that I have never encountered so many frustrating and illogical situations while trying to support my children’s education, and I am done holding my peace about it.  

My children deserve to feel like they matter and that their schools are looking out for them.  

Parents, we need to stop looking the other way.  The schools may have proven that they can easily ignore one concerned mother, but they certainly can’t ignore us all.  

Our schools can do better than this, and our children deserve better. 

Shellie Burton

South Boston

Thank you!

To the editor:

I am so proud to be a member of the Halifax County family.  A little over a year ago I left the Halifax County Public Schools and began serving our community as the local Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development.  

I truly had no idea what the path ahead of me would bring.  Things have certainly not always been easy, but that’s okay.  It has been through those tough times that I have seen both our community and our youth shine.  

I have yet to be faced with a need for our program that hasn’t been met by someone in our community, and I am so appreciative.   

Adult volunteers have shared experiences such as when attempting to pay for an item for a 4-H club they heard a voice from somewhere in the store shout, “I’ll donate it to 4-H.”

The strongest example of this support happened this summer when 4-H camp was cancelled.  Never in the history of Virginia 4-H had this happened. The kids, both young and old, were beyond disappointed.  

However, within a couple of days there seemed to be a county wide call to action.  People from all over offered their assistance to make some form of camp happen for our 4-H’ers.  

There is no way I could have pulled off an event such as the one-day camp at Staunton River State Park without such strong community support.  Thank you so very much.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the families in our community.  Parenting is not an easy task.  But obviously there are folks out there who are doing it right because we have some awesome kids in Halifax County.  They are enthusiastic, love learning and great citizens.  

I have no doubt that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, supporting the growth of leadership among our youth.  

If you have a young person in your life, I strongly encourage you to investigate the opportunities 4-H has to offer.  

Adults, I encourage you to consider becoming a formal role model by volunteering to become a 4-H adult leader.  There is no better investment for our future than putting time into our children.


Sonya Furgurson

Halifax Co. 4-H Agent 

Feel special

To the editor:

 We recently moved from the South Boston/Halifax region after residency of nearly 30 years. And while there, we used many of the services provided and patronized many businesses.

 One such business, however, stands out among many, and that is the Animal Clinic of South Boston. We probably had more appointments and trips there than we could begin to count. No matter what the reason for the visit to the clinic, our pets and we were always made to feel comfortable. In addition, each visit was always followed by a call the next day to see how our furry family was doing.

 One particular trip, however, will forever hold Dr. Edmunds and her wonderful associates in the highest regard. On Labor Day, and the very day we were officially leaving the area, our beloved 11-year-old black lab, Charlye, could no longer walk, and had a very scary seizure. 

Months before he had been diagnosed with bone cancer in one leg but lived a normal and happy existence thanks to the medications prescribed by Dr. Edmunds. 

That afternoon we knew we could not deny the inevitable and had a very serious decision to make. The dilemma was the fact that it was a holiday. We knew there was an emergency veterinarian clinic in Fredricksburg, but something about that just didn’t seem right. We decided to call Dr. Edmunds at home just to ask her advice. She didn’t hesitate to tell us that she would meet us at her clinic. 

After many tears and goodbyes, we took the short ride. She, along with her associates, were there to meet us, comfort Charlye, and give us comfort, as well. No one there mentioned the fact that it was Labor Day and that they could be at home with their families on the last official holiday of the summer.

 Charlye made the trip to “Doggie Heaven” that day, peacefully and comfortably, in an environment he knew. We will always be grateful to everyone at Animal Medical Clinic for that day and for all the years of love and comfort they have provided.

 The citizens of Halifax County can be very proud that they have such an outstanding veterinarian clinic in their midst. Small communities have so much to offer, and the people who live within them are what make them so special. 

Feel special South Boston and Halifax, because you are.

Very sincerely yours,

Steve and Connie

Stafford Lakes



The Freemen are coming

To the editor:

It is obvious to me that Democrats represent the poor, the handicapped, the unemployed and the less fortunate, while the Republicans represent the wealthy, big business and Wall Street. 

Here we are middle class America doing all the work and paying most of the taxes because there are more of us than any other group. We make $100,000 or less a year, (not $250,000 as some would tell you), and we have no representation in Washington.

Perhaps we should have another party, call it the “American Party” for arguments’ sake, that is made up of people from the middle class making no more than $100,000 and cannot be an attorney, doctor or any other money grubbing occupation.

A friend of mine once said, “There should be a law that states if you run for the president’s job, you automatically can’t have it because you have an agenda of your own.”

I am sick to death of hearing all the negativity they are saying about one another. Thank God for the mute button on my remote, ‘cause I don’t care about that crap.

However I feel that if you are running for president you can’t have Swiss or offshore accounts as the only reason for those accounts is tax evasion. Isn’t that what they put Al Capone in prison for? 

Are politicians exempt from the law or is it a “Do as I say, not as I do” law that only we have to abide by? 

I don’t know who I’ll vote for this time but surely not the two choices that they have given me. 

Maybe I’ll vote for Fred Dalton Thompson again, at least he is honest and loves this nation of ours...

The Freemen are coming.

Al Hoppe


Bravo to Donnell Correlle and The Prizery

To the editor:

Bravo to Donnell Correlle — along with her sponsors — in bringing Grace Kelly and her jazz quartet to The Prizery.  When I attend concerts such as this at The Prizery, I can hardly believe I’m in Halifax County.  Wow! What wonderful stage presence, energy and, yes talent, this 20 year old brought to the stage.  

If you missed it and love great jazz, go to her website at gracekellymusic.com and order her CD entitled “Live at Scullers” which includes several of the selections she included in her concert here.  You’ll be glad you did.

My husband and I were equally as entertained at The Prizery season opener with “The Red Bank Ramblers.”  The talent was equally as amazing and just as Grace Kelly, it was a joy watching very talented musicians having a ball at what they do.  They played everything from bluegrass to jazz, and the good news is there’s a chance they’ll be back next year. My only problem with both shows is getting to sleep when I got home.  

My body was saying “sleep,” and my soul was still keeping the beat to the music.

People, we truly have a jewel in our midst in our beautiful Prizery.  We are so fortunate to have such a state of the art facility where we can have shows of this caliber.  The Prizery staff has worked very hard to offer another great season with something to suit everyone.  

I might add that if the show(s) happen not to be a style of your choosing, step outside the box and try something different for a change.  Variety is often the spice of life.  You’ll also find admission prices are very reasonable. 

So everyone, let’s get on board not only to support The Prizery with your attendance, but with your donations. 

 The capital campaign has already started, and I am sure any donation would be appreciated.  A facility as this takes a lot of money just to operate.  

This is our community’s jewel and it needs our continued nurturing and support.

A very proud Prizery

Cynthia Haugh


A special day for Hugh Gray

To the editor:

On Aug. 18, 2012 at the annual car show, the Wilson Memorial Ruritan Club honored Hugh Gray Loftis with a Pioneer’s Award for all of his years as an antique car restorer and avid car collector.

The family of Hugh would like to thank all members and Conway Goodman for making this such a special day for Hugh. 

Due to his lengthy illness, his love of restoring cars had come to an end. This was the last special event that he was able to attend. He was so excited and looked so forward to the special day.

For those of you who knew and saw him at the event, you realized that the illness had taken a toll on him, but he knew all of you. Thank you for sharing this day with him.

Hugh passed away Sept. 16, 2012, so the family wants Wilson Memorial Ruritan Club to know how much we appreciate them doing this for Hugh.

Thank you,

The family of Hugh Gray Loftis

Janice Torian



Consolidation on hold

To the editor:

Since being here in Southside Virginia, the current administration at the YMCA of South Boston/Halifax County has experienced numerous successes around youth development and community engagement. 

The impact in Halifax County led to other communities asking us to duplicate these services in South Hill, then in Clarksville and Chase City. Management contracts were entered into to provide administrative oversight and program implementation.

At the Mecklenburg County YMCA, working with the existing volunteers and staff, we were able to formulate a path forward to address the lack of accurate financial reporting, declining membership and the absence of community support, no financial assistance program and little focus on youth development. 

The action plan executed included foreseen challenges such as the inability to meet staff payroll and the need for numerous civic group and government presentations to inform the community the challenges faced by the YMCA. 

Fortunately, the YMCA of South Boston/Halifax County was able to financially support the Mecklenburg County YMCA during these turbulent times and by designating more staff hours than previously discussed.

Today, the Mecklenburg County YMCA is a healthy organization, thanks in part to the work of numerous staff and volunteers. All of the work done by these volunteers, board members, staff and YUSA resources point toward consolidating as the best solution for sustaining these organizations. 

Now, even after unprecedented successes at the Mecklenburg County YMCA, we are left with a divisive situation threatening key relationships in both counties. It’s a very odd place to be considering both have benefitted from this collaboration and the majority of individuals want to see this relationship deepen.

The most important thing is that YMCAs remain a key asset in both communities now and in the future. For this reason, we believe it is in the best interest of the members of the YMCA to revisit the consolidation process at a later time. Our communities are too hesitant to engage until certain hurdles can be overcome.

In moving forward, the Mecklenburg County YMCA must decide whether they want to remain a YMCA or be a community center, hire a CEO themselves, or request the services of the YMCA of the USA for a CEO search process. As of Dec. 31, the YMCA of South Boston/Halifax County will no longer be able to provide consultation services.

Both YMCA Boards of Directors wish each other well. The consolidation process revealed information that will be helpful to both. Utilizing this information will hopefully assist in programs designed for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.


YMCA Consolidation
Task Force

Marcus M. Hargrave

Chief Executive Officer

YMCA of South Boston/
Halifax County