The Albany Herald once again was fortunate to share company last week with some of the smartest students around. As a sponsor of the 2012 Dougherty County Middle School Academic Bowl, four staff members were again wowed by the brilliance of the participants. Historically, the final round has belonged to Merry Acres and Robert Cross. For the first time, though, the finals this year included Dougherty International Middle School facing Merry Acres. While the Christine Blaylock Cup went to Merry Acres, Dougherty can certainly be proud of its second-place finish, as can all the teams that participated. Parents, staff and coaches prepared the students well for the competition, and the behavior of the students, win or lose, was impeccable.
Just before reaching the ripe old age of 6, a time many children still have difficulty sharing their possessions, one little lady was more than willing to do just that. Aware of her parents’ preparations for her birthday party, Lilly Lanier of Newton informed her mother that she would like to give all her toys (birthday presents) away to children who did not have all that she does. Lilly, daughter of Michael and Heather Lanier didn’t recall the program’s name — Toys for Tots — but knew that she wanted help. So, as the gifts were opened and admired, they would only belong to Lilly for a short time. Representatives from Toys for Tots arrived at the party and were rewarded with some 50 brand new toys for Christmas giving. Lance Cprl. Nik Bentley from Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany summed it up best when he said, “It says a lot about her and her parents.” Happy belated birthday, Lilly.
Students at Worth County Elementary School recently wrapped up a very successful food drive. The donations went to the Pinson Memorial United Methodist Church Food Pantry in Sylvester. The pantry is regulated by the USDA and has been in operation for a decade. This year alone, more than 200 families have received food, and the numbers in need continue to grow. A friendly competition was held to see which class and which individual could collect the most number of canned goods. Melissa Fortson’s fifth-grade class came in with 476 cans, earning the class a pizza and ice cream party. Third-grade student Tanner Price single-handedly brought in 166 cans for his class, which was also rewarded. These youngsters as a whole collected nearly 3,000 pounds of food. Well done!
Far down in a recent news story about this area’s legislative delegation meetings with local officials was a tidbit that bears repeating. Albany Technical College operates with the smallest budget per FTE (student count) among the state’s technical college system. According to President Anthony Parker, ATC’s per-FTE is $1,664.49 while the state’s average is “right under $3,000.” Other technical schools in the area, none of which match ATC’s graduation or job placement rates, average about $3,400 per FTE. The idea that ATC offers the best is not a theory, it is a fact.
Looking at the scenario from the half-full view, the Dougherty County Commission has made a wise decision. The closure of two libraries by the Dougherty County Library Board of Trustees stirred up a quite a bit of resentment from residents. A natural target, or so it seemed, for the expression of said resentment (and anger) was the County Commission. As it turned out, the commission had no knowledge of the closures until it was a done deal. Perhaps the outcome would have been the same, with or without a commissioner on the library board; that will never be known. Any future moves will, at the very least, not come as a total surprise as the commission will henceforth have a representative on the Board of Trustees.