Torchbearers recognized at school board

Published 10:20 pm Friday, February 15, 2013

After four city and county schools were named Torchbearers last month, the Selma City School Board showed their appreciation for these schools and their hard work.

During their regular school board meeting, school board president Henry Hicks recognized these schools and their educators for achieving this high goal.

“It’s time to celebrate what our teachers anxad students have been achieving,” Hicks said. “When we’re doing something right, we need to recognize it and talk about it.”

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To become a Torchbearer, schools must be in a high-poverty area and overcome the odds to become a high-performing school. Elementary schools that showed this outstanding performance include Cedar Park, Sophia P. Kingston, Edgewood, Knox and B.K. Craig.

Gerald Shirley, superintendent of Selma City Schools, recognized that other factors go in to qualifying to be a torchbearer.

“Schools have to have at least 80 percent of students on free or reduced lunch,” Shirley explained. “They also have to have a 95 percent graduation rate.”

Brenda Obomanu, school board member, said she was very proud that Selma schools accomplished such a great feat.

“It’s rare for a town this small to have four Torchbearers,” Obomanu said. “In Montgomery, they’re much bigger than us, and they only had one school be named a torchbearer. We had four named, so I commend all of our schools for achieving that.”

In an effort to encourage more schools to be Torchbearers, board member Frank Chestnut asked why other schools didn’t achieve the title, and how they can in the future.

“Some educators told me they were taken aback because they really wanted to be a part of that number,” Chestnut said. “Some said they were able to pinpoint they’re problems with how third grade students were performing on standardized tests.”

Over all, all board members agreed that having four schools named was an honor, and they encourage educators to keep working hard to maintain that title.

“I commend all the teachers, principals and support personnel in the entire district,” Hicks said. “We got enough of the bad, let’s start celebrating the good.”