November 20, 2012

Superintendent encourages youngsters to stay in school

Submitted by Dalton Public Schools

— Kindergarten students impatiently waited their turn to put on the long robe and have their photo made during American Education Week. Even though the robe was many sizes too big, this event was a prelude to what school officials’ hope will be the real thing in 12 years.

Dalton Public Schools Superintendent Jim Hawkins spent time last week at each Dalton elementary school to have his photo made with each kindergarten student as a way of encouraging them to be readers and graduate from high school in 2025.

“I want to see you in 12 years at graduation,” Hawkins told several students. “I’m proud of you and want you to do well in school.”

He also gave each child a copy of “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!” by Nancy Carlson and told several children to keep reading because “readers are leaders.”

“This has been a very special week for me, “said Hawkins. “These kindergarten students will be a part of the Class of 2025 and we want every child and every parent to be focused on the future. The thing that has really been an enjoyment for me is to see the look on the faces of the children and their excitement ... seeing the look on their faces says that what we do is so very important.”

“It’s never too early to get kids starting to think about the future and planning toward the future,” said Phil Jones, principal at Park Creek School. “And putting that cap and gown on and giving that book, which supports our literacy program, is a great move in that direction towards establishing that vision and that expectation of graduation.”

“Anything we can do to help them think beyond kindergarten and into their future is great,” said Candace Marchmon, a kindergarten teacher at City Park School. “I think it will be great for the kids to be able to look at that picture and have that to see where they are going and what their future might look like. “

The effort was part of the American Education Week celebration in Dalton Public Schools. While the photos are designed to reinforce for students and their parents the importance of setting the goal to graduate from high school, the book reinforces the district’s focus on the importance of literacy. The photos will be imprinted with a logo that says “Class of 2025” and will be given to each child as a keepsake.