Students still learning despite school closings

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 21, 2003

by Tracie Troha/Times-Journal Writer

Christmas vacation is a time when most kids want to be as far away from schoolwork as possible. Their biggest concern is usually what they are getting for Christmas, not math homework.

So Carolyn Bates, founder of the Selma Disabilities Advocacy Program, was surprised when the students who attend her after-school program chose to continue working on their studies even after all the Selma City Schools had closed.

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Bates decided that if the kids were still interested in learning, she wasn’t going to stop them.

The Advocacy Program remained open this week, and nearly every one of her students continued to show up and work with their tutors.

Some of the students wanted to keep coming to the Advocacy Program because they go to Dallas County or private schools, which did not close until Friday.

It was even the students’ idea to have a Christmas party at the Advocacy Program and to draw names to give each other gifts.

Even the tutors did not seem to mind having to work an extra week, Bates said, and were glad to be there.

Since the fall semester began, all of the students have brought their grades up to an &uot;A&uot; or &uot;B&uot; average.

The tutors at the after-school program teach students in 1st through 9th grade.

This year the Advocacy Program has also grown to include more than helping children.

Through the use of grants, several other outreach programs have been established to help teens and adults receive job training, along with offering advocacy and legal referral for those with disabilities.

Bates, her staff, and the students will finally get that long-awaited Christmas break this week.

The Advocacy Program plans to be closed until the start of the new year.