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Thumbs Up! - May 25, 2013

Editorial

Perhaps one of the few people in Lee County that do not consider Rob Williams a legendary high school baseball coach is Williams himself. Williams’ entire career as a head coach has been spent with the LCHS Trojans, a career that spanned 25 years. After much consideration, the greatly admired and highly respected coach announced his retirement last week. Williams has coached many young players to success, many beyond the high school level. Williams won his 500th game in 2012 and leaves with an overall record of 529-205. Coach, you will be greatly missed and not soon forgotten.

An upcoming event is one every Albany citizen with an interest in lowering crime should attend. On June 8 at 10 a.m. there will be a communitywide Neighborhood Watch Association meeting at the Law Enforcement Center downtown. The agenda will be wide open for discussion about any method feasible to create and maintain safe neighborhoods in which to live, work and play. Launched in 1972, Neighborhood Watch can trace its roots to the days of colonial settlements when night watchmen patrolled the streets. Members of the group are not to be vigilantes, but additional tools for local law enforcement. Get to know the neighbors. Help keep an eye on the children. Remove debris. Hold meetings. Learn about gangs. Report unusual or suspicious people and activities. Anyone can be a good neighbor.

In one of the poorest areas of the state and one with low graduation rates, high teen pregnancy rates and more than its share of poverty, is the glow of Albany Technical College. At a recent Dougherty County Kiwanis Club meeting, ATC President Anthony Parker shared the news that for the second time in three years, the college is a finalist for Technical College of the Year in Georgia. While only an average size technical college, ATC graduates more students than any other tech school in the state. More than 90 percent of those graduates find work in their field. With a new associate of nursing degree coming this fall, the future just gets brighter for ATC and its students.

Earlier this month, the 14th Annual Dougherty County School System Science Olympiad was held at Chehaw. Each elementary school sent a team of 18 third, fourth and fifth grade students. Competition was tough but at the end of the day, Lake Park took first place, International Studies took second place with Radium Springs nabbing third place. Of equal importance, special recognition awards were given as follows: Most Cooperative - Turner Elementary, Most Persistent - Martin Luther King Jr, Most Creative - Alice Coachman, Best Sportsmanship - Lincoln and Best Team Spirit - West Town. Congratulations!

It was the effort of too many parents, staff and community partners to list here that made the graduation ceremony at Southside Middle School such a success. More than 20 years had passed without a graduation program for Southside but the Class of 2013 enjoyed all that goes along with completing the middle school years of their education. Here’s hoping the almost 100 grads have a great summer and come ready to take on the exciting and challenging years of high school.

Writing about schools, retirement and achievements brings to mind one very special lady. For 28 years, she did something many would never dare attempt. Janice Mullis gave all those years of service to the Lee County School System as a bus driver. Day in and day out, on cold days and hot ones, sunny or rainy, Mullis was the first face of the school system many students saw for the day. A bus driver’s influence on a child’s day and life, unheralded for the most part, is a huge one. Thank you, Janice Mullis for all your years of dedication to the students of Lee County.