With only days left before Jasper County students return to the classroom, the district held a back to school rally on Thursday morning. Staff, teachers, and students celebrated a new year. There were new programs announced, and the district’s new learning center, to be named after the late Senator Clementa Pinckney, was unveiled.
“Everybody has pushed us for the last three years, so I’m just waiting to see what they have expected for us this last year ’cause you know, we don’t ever take a break, so I’m just ready for it,” rising Ridgeland High senior Kayla Hasty says.
Hasty is preparing for her first day of senior year. In the back to school celebration, she had the chance to speak, addressing her teachers.
“Teachers do make a difference, and when a child speaks on their behalf, they can get the motivation to say, ‘I am actually making a difference in her life,'” Hasty says.
Staff announced new programs this year.
“This is the first time that we have had reading interventionists. We also have reading coaches, so we have individuals to work with our students and individuals to work with our teachers,” Superintendent Vashti Washington says.
There will also be in-school tutoring available at Ridgeland High School.
“A lot of our students aren’t able to stay after school because of the lack of transportation, so if we offer it during school, we will be able to reach more of our kids,” Principal Karen Parker says.
The crowd also payed homage to a fallen leader, Senator Pinckney.
“This year, it was just so special because it was dedicated to the late Senator Clementa Pinckney, and he was just an asset to the community,” Parker says.
“Everybody can be great, and he showed that people underestimate what comes out of Jasper County,” Hasty says.
Among new things in the 2015-2016 school year, Dr. Washington also says parent liaisons will go door-to-door to families, hoping to recruit more parent involvement.