Businesses team up to tutor students

Published 10:00 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

After setting up the program with Sophia P. Kingston Elementary, leadership within Bush Hog Inc. have dedicated a large portion of their efforts to 21 children taking part in their tutoring project.

The program, incepted this January from a partnership with Bush Hog and former Kingston principal Ozella Ford, targets children who may learn at a different pace or need additional help with reading and math. Understanding the importance of intellectual development at an early age, Bush Hog president Jerry Worthington was happy to get his team involved in giving back to the community.

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“They (the Kingston staff) were trying to find some innovative ways for the kids to improve their skills, so we talked about joining into a tutoring program,” Worthington said. “A lot of us took two kids at a time, some of us took one. We did some testing and gave them some personal one-on-one time to help them with those skills.”

Worthington also added that local industry Henry Brick has been involved with a tutoring program at the school as well, and with their combined efforts have reached more students than if they operated alone.

According to Worthington, the tutoring program lasts from January to May, with 14 Bush Hog staff members taking the time to go to the school and sit down with the kids from grades one to five. They met weekly during lunch hours, and are now getting ready for an end of the year party with their students at the beginning of May. Worthington called it “great bonding time.”

Since the start of the program, Sophia P. Kingston has gone through a change of principals, with Ford becoming principal of Selma High and Arthur Capers stepping in to replace her.

According to Worthington, both Ford and Capers have been supportive of the tutoring program, seeing the benefits of teaming up business minds with students.

Capers is thankful for all the Bush Hog staff members have done for his students. He said that the celebration will be a combination of gratitude for the work Bush Hog and Henry Brick have put in and also a moment of congratulations for the students.

“This is so beneficial for them, because our children are going to have to go out there and face that corporate world,” Capers said. “The kids love them, and they love the kids. The celebration is going to be a culminating experience to show our appreciation for them.”

Currently the staff of Kingston and Bush Hog await the test results of their hard-working students. While the celebration marks the end of the school year and of testing, it does not mark the end of the tutoring. Both Capers and Worthington saw no need to stop the positive momentum they have built through teaching Selma’s youth.