The Liberty County School System was the topic of discussion at the Progress Through People Luncheon Thursday afternoon.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry addressed gathered business leaders and school personnel at the Performing Arts Center.
After watching a video about the district, Perry began his remarks with “We have a good school system. We have great employees and we have the best children that Liberty County can offer.”
Perry said he grew up in Oxford, Georgia, and did not take school seriously until the ninth grade, when he began playing the clarinet.
His band director told him he could earn scholarships to college by playing the clarinet, if he applied himself to his schoolwork.
Perry said his classes became easier as he started to put in the effort.
But he still had trouble in one class, biology, which he failed twice. He said his biology teacher was overheard boasting Perry wasn’t going to pass her class. When his mother heard about it, Perry said she marched to the school and talked to the teacher.
He passed the class and went on to earn multiple degrees.
“I’m committed to every child because it only takes a little bit to send a kid down the wrong road,” Perry said. “I believe that every child should have the opportunity to an education. With all that’s going on in the country today, it’s public education that is going to make the difference. We have not done a great job of selling the value of education to children, to our parents and to our community. They (students) are not sold on the idea that education is vital.”
Perry encouraged members in the audience to help by asking their employees about their child’s progress in school or providing incentives for good report cards.
“We need your help, because children are struggling with the idea of ‘Why do I need this education?’ And we’re trying to paint the picture that you’re going to be 20 years old, 60 years old and what you’re doing now is going to make a difference,” he said.
Perry then compared students to parked cars that are useless unless they’re moving.
“We have lots of children that are parked. Good minds, good brains, but they’re just parked. We believe in motivation. We have to be able to provide them with something to get them excited,” Perry said. “We have to sell ourselves to these students. We have to be motivators and have to influence people.”
The audience then asked questions about different district programs.
The luncheon was hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by Webster University and catered by the Pour House.