EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a monthly series of updates on Dougherty High School by Dougherty graduate and Florida A&M student Alesha Thomas.
Jerome Register is the new assistant principal at Dougherty Comprehensive High School. He has 33 years of experience from more than 18 school systems. He believes that preparing students is a yearlong process that starts with the parents, teachers and students all working together for the common good of the students. Register sees himself as providing the students with a better learning opportunity, and he says the students seem to have a new spirit for education. Register’s goal as assistant principal is to help close the achievement gap between his students.
“All kids can learn,” he said. “I want to help make young people an asset to this community rather than a liability.”
Dougherty High teacher dedicated to her students
Patricia Brown is a teacher at Dougherty Comprehensive High School who has worked with Skills USA and TASCO. Skills USA is a CTAE work-based learning program that helps prepare students to be productive citizens after high school. There are regional and state competitions. At this year’s regional, Dougherty High students won several first- and second-place awards, including a first place in the preschool teaching competition. Brown has been working with both programs for the past four years and thoroughly enjoys it.
“As long as my health and strength lasts,” she said, “I still see myself working with students.”
Award-winning filmmaker aspires to success
Tracey Kendrick, a 17-year-old graduating senior at Dougherty Comprehensive High School, is an award-winning member of Future Business Leaders of America. After placing second in a Georgia FBLA regional competition in digital video production, she is now ranked in the top 10 for Georgia FBLA’s state competition for her recruitment film “DCHS FBLA week.”
Although Kendrick was interested in video production in middle school, she only recently decided to examine a career in film.
“I wanted to do something I’m passionate about, and I decided to go with it and try it,” she said.
After graduation, Kendrick wants to enroll in film directing at the Art Institute of Atlanta. She aspires to own her own studio “just like Tyler Perry.”
Counselors prepare students for college
The counselors at Dougherty High school provide a variety of services to the student body. They provide social and emotional support to students who need a confidant, and they give academic and behavioral support to students who simply need “a push in the right direction.” The counselors also advise students on the steps they need to take to prepare for graduation and life after high school.
“We don’t help students file college applications because that’s a personal decision by the students and their families,” said Cheryl Smith, a counselor at DHS. “We encourage students to go to GA411, and we can provide fee waivers for those that need them for college applications.”
Smith and her colleagues also pass along scholarship and college information to the student body and advise students on which academic classes they should be taking. For Smith, the most fulfilling part of the job is watching her students mature.
“It’s exciting seeing young people make the transition from freshman to well-rounded people,” she said.
Former ATC electrician visits DCHS students
On March 13, Willie L. Emerson made a presentation to the students in the Dougherty High School social studies class of Riss Robinson. In his speech, Emerson spoke about his early life and how he came to work at Albany Technical College. Emerson and his four younger siblings were raised in poverty in Montgomery, Alabama. His father died while he was still in high school, leaving his mother to raise all five children herself. To pay for college, Emerson worked in the Air Force for three years before enrolling at Tuskegee University as an electrician.
Emerson graduated in 1957 and worked in Atlanta for a few years before coming to Albany to teach at the then-mostly African-American-based Albany Tech, where he worked for 40 years. Many of his students went on to be successful businessmen with their own companies. Emerson was the first black electrician in Dougherty County and has been given several awards from past Georgia governors and commissions. There is also a scholarship foundation at Albany Tech named in his honor. At 86 years old Emerson is still a very active participant in both his community and his family.
“I’m thankful that I’m still around and they haven’t forgotten about me,” he said. “I’m a senior citizen and I’m still active.”
Alesha Thomas, of Albany, graduated from Dougherty High School in May and is a freshman broadcast journalism major at Florida A&M University, where she volunteers with the on-campus news station, FAMU TV 20, and The Famuan, the on-campus newspaper.