Anson County Schools Superintendent Michael Freeman got a chance to brag on students’ accomplishments during a joint meeting of the Anson County Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners Tuesday night.
Even the meal that the two boards were served was prepared by family and consumer science students. “The students created the menu, will serve the food and will clean up,” Freeman said.
The table settings were also designed and created by agriculture students, and JROTC cadets presented the colors before the meal started.
The Anson County Early College Quartet and a group of ACEC students with Laotian heritage, called the Hmongettes, provided entertainment while the boards ate. The quartet performed two songs, while the Hmongettes danced the traditional Hmong dance of Laos, complete with traditional outfits.
There were also greeters at the meeting, representatives from all four high schools in the county — Anson County Early College, Anson Academy, Anson High School and Anson New Tech.
Freeman pointed out several displays in the room, including the robot built by Anson New Tech’s RoboWolves, which recently competed at a statewide competition in Raleigh; a quilt depicting North Carolina history created by fourth-graders from Wadesboro Elementary; and an art print by an Anson student that will be on display at the N.C. Department of Public Education in Raleigh.
Once he started his presentation to both boards, Freeman said that every board member in the room “has a role as a stakeholder in our children’s education,” whether they are a county commissioner or a member of the Board of Education.
“As community leaders,” he added, “everyone in this room has an impact. … We need to tell the story and let the world know what’s happening in Anson County.”
He stressed the importance of building and maintaining the community’s trust, and talked about how each child in Anson County Schools is important.
“It doesn’t matter to me where a child came from,” he said. “We must accept them as they are.”
Freeman said it’s important to protect public schools as well. This year’s catchphrase is: “175 years of public schools and still going strong.”
“We have to be committed to protecting our public schools,” he said. “We don’t need to go back to the elitist status of the past.”
He touted Anson County teachers’ accomplishments, saying everyone should be proud of the number of teachers that have advanced degrees and training. Patricia Cole, a teacher at Morven Elementary School, was named the Carolina Panthers’ Teacher of the Year for North and South Carolina last year. Morven Elementary and Anson High School were also both recently awarded federal grants. Anson New Tech is visited from other school systems across the nation, so that others can learn about the New Tech model.
“School safety is a priority,” Freeman said, pointing to the active shooter drill held at Anson High School last October, and the way the school system has handled this year’s inclement weather conditions.
Students at Anson’s four high schools also accumulated more than $649,000 in scholarships and grants last year alone. The football team advanced to the second round in the conference playoffs, and the girls’ basketball team won the conference championship, making it to the second round in the state playoffs.
When the floor opened for comments or questions, Anson Commission Chair Anna Baucom stated, “I just want to say… I think our board has been steadfast in its support of public education. We have a continuum of education in Anson County that lasts from birth through the first two years of college.”
Commissioner Ross Streater asked how the schools are doing on their state report cards. Freeman replied that it varies from school to school, and that information is available online. “Let us provide you any information on any areas of concern,” he told the commissioners. “And also let us provide you any information on our successes.”
Commissioner Bobby Sikes asked about the truth behind a rumor that’s been going around for several years that all sixth-graders would be moved to Anson Middle School. Freeman said that is not in the immediate plans, but he can’t say for sure about 10 years from now.
“I can promise this group would know before the general public does,” he said.
The Anson County Board of Education will next meet at 6:30 p.m. March 31 at the Riddle Staff Development Center on Camden Road in Wadesboro. The Anson County Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. on April 1 at the County Government Center on Greene Street in Wadesboro.