Superintendent Billy Joe Ferguson attended his last school board meeting for the Carroll County School District as head of the district. Ferguson, who has working in the district for 50 years, became tearful as he talked about the progress he’s seen the district make over the years.
As Ferguson talked, many shed tears, as Ferguson himself fought back his own.
During his last Superintendent’s Report, Ferguson spoke of the progress the district has made over the years. He acknowledged that everything hasn’t been great, but the Carroll County School Distrct has seen successful men and women do great things with their lives and have never forgotten where they started.
“I’ve thought about what I was going to say. I’d like to say thank you. I’ve been in the district for 50 years, and I’m proud to be apart of the community. When I first started there were four high schools in the district, now there’s only one.” Ferguson said.
He talked about the first consolidation the district faced – integration.
“When we integrated the schools, there were 85 seniors who graduated from Vaiden High School; this past graduation there were only 59. People have moved to find jobs and things, and we have to take that into account.”
He also spoke about how technology has evolved in the district.
“We had one internet line, and it was at Vaiden High. It was free access, now we can’t do anything without technology. You see the problems we’re having now. We are completely dependent on it. It’s how we do our plans, and we need to update our equipment. There maybe be some that can be rebuilt, we need to rebuild them, but the future is in technology.”
Ferguson continued, “We have students that are taking classes at Holmes Community College while at J.Z. George High School. They’re graduating high school with 24-30 credits. I’m on the board at Holmes, and the problem we’re having is that fewer students are enrolling on campus. But, that’s part of the evolution, the change that we’re seeing. We’re preparing future leaders, and we are having to have them prepared for their future.”
He went on to say that he’s made some decisions that people are still upset about – like the consolidation of Vaiden and J.Z. George High into what’s now the current J. Z. George High School.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Ferguson said. “I’m proud that we have doctors, lawyers, successful men and women. We’ve had successful athletic teams, we’ve won championships in different sports. We’ve won 46 championships, I don’t think there’s a school around that has won more. We have a lot of problems, a lot of things we have to confront. We can’t expect the parents to do it by themselves.
Mrs. Laura Davis used to say this all the time and it’s true, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ and it does. But, I’m gonna stop there, I might start crying,” Ferguson said.
Board member Stella Washington-Bell’s response to Ferguson was met with a standing ovation for Ferguson, and it was high note that ended the Carroll County School Board Meeting.
“I’m gonna speak for myself, I don’t know how any of them [board members] feel, but Mr. Ferguson should be honored for the years he have served in our district and the things that he has done over the years. If no one else says it, I appreciate you,” Washington-Bell said.
The district will have a reception for Ferguson Thursday, December 19 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the J.Z. George High School Gymnasium. The reception is open to the public and they invite all to attend.