A little about myself.
I’m not new to Cherokee County or to the corruption of the education system. I am a lifelong resident of Cherokee County (-minus 2 short years I lived in Jasper with my now ex-husband), as a matter of fact my family has been in Cherokee County for over 100 years. (And yes I can’t go to the store without running into someone that I know or am related to, that’s just the way it is and I love it.) I am a product of the Cherokee County School District where I attended Hickory Flat Elementary School (where my two oldest children attended, my father also attended and my great grandfather taught at when it was only a 2 room school house). I loved the fact that the wonderful man that was my principal was also my father’s teacher, the late and honorable A.C. Browning. His wife still knows me by name and gives me a hug whenever I see her and asks about my brother and sister by name. My grandmother’s best friend in school was my 3rd grade teacher, none other than the wonderful Mrs. Cagle, better known as Mama Cagle (her son went to school and played guitar with my father). My daughter was able to have two of my former teachers as her teachers while she attended Hickory Flat. This was an amazing experience that not many families can share anymore. To me family and tradition mean a lot, pretty close to everything, but the status quo isn’t worth letting my children miss out on a great education or letting other children get tangled in the red tape while we sit around and either accept that this is the way it has always been or try to untangle a spider web of red tape that has been created by a bureaucracy that long ago forgot what it was like to be in a classroom either as a teacher or as a student.
Even as a student I felt the pains of the “cookie cutter” traditional public school mold. I will never forget when I was in kindergarten and our class was moved to the library in the winter because the heater in our trailer had broken down. My mother had been working with me at home and I was able to write in cursive. I began doing my work in cursive and had the teacher’s Aid (this was before they were called Para pros) come by and tell me that I couldn’t write in cursive because it wasn’t fair to the other students who couldn’t do it. The public school system began holding me back while I was only a few months into my traditional public education experience. What a way to start off…huh?
My entire experience wasn’t bad in the traditional public school system. I had some great teachers that saw my desire to learn and my advanced abilities and they provided me with additional work that stimulated my mind and kept me learning. One teacher had me tested for (AIM) the gifted program and I got in on the very first round of testing, several of my friends had to go through numerous days of testing while some got in and others didn’t. My grades and standardize testing were all exceeding and when my mother tried to see about having me skip a grade the “powers that be” said that it wasn’t their policy to allow a child to skip a grade. So I was held back once again from reaching my full potential. This resulted in my getting very bored and frustrated with the work that was given to me and often slacking off because it didn’t challenge me.
In high school I went through an experience that I hope no student ever has to experience and I hope as adults we can look to make sure that we provide our children that a trouble free experience.I will never forget getting a phone call the day we got back from basketball camp over the summer of my junior year from the basketball coach (Scott Bursmith) and he asked that my mother get on the line also.He wanted to inform me of some accusations that had been made against him.I was present at the instances that the accusations referred to and the person pointing the blame was upset with her amount of playing time and blew things out of portion and construed them to make the situation unfavorable to the coach.The school board superintendent, Corky Jones (yes that was his name, let the jokes roll), was forcing him to resign from coaching without investigating or speaking with the witnesses.School started the next week and a group of us girls called the main office and set up an appointment to meet with Mr. Jones to discuss the issue.I will never forget him treating us like idiots and lying to us.He just kept repeating that he didn’t know what we were talking about and that he had received the coach’s letter of resignation and that was all he knew.He proceeded to try and sing a popular country music song, one that I had previously loved – until this time, “How Can I Help You To Say Good-bye” and that we needed to simply move on and accept that things were as there were.Well, I’ve never been one to sit back with my mouth shut and let an injustice go on without at least someone knowing my opinion on the matter.A group of us had t-shirts made and we wore them to school, as a matter of fact I still have mine and cherish it. See photo of shirt print.
This time I have a lot more knowledge of the system and how things work not to mention I am fighting for my kids this go round. Everyone knows you don’t mess with a mama bear!