MONROE — Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic were back on the agenda for the Walton County Chamber of Commerce as it hosted an “Education Summit” at its latest membership luncheon, inviting superintendents and headmasters from the county systems to speak on Walton education efforts.
William Nicholson, headmaster at George Walton Academy, spoke first, highlighting the private school’s 100 percent college acceptance rate among students, as well as recent awards and honors won by the school’s yearbook and marching band.
He also talked about the school’s requirement all students participate in service projects, from volunteering at Faith in Serving Humanity to traveling abroad on mission trips.
“We believe in giving back at GWA,” Nicholson said. “We are very proud to be a part of Walton County.”
The county’s other private school, Loganville Christian Academy, sent administrator Christy Monda, who emphasized the school’s explicit religious instruction.
“LCA is the newcomer,” Monda said, as the school was only founded in 1998. “We wanted to offer students a quality, Christian education. We want to be a vital part of Walton County and what makes it work.”
In the public schools, Social Circle City Schools Superintendent Bettye Ray mentioned many of the system’s recent additions, from the early steps into the International Baccalaureate program to recent grants for new technology labs.
“Everyone in our community is working together on meeting the challenge of creating a premier school system,” Ray said.
Emphasizing the school’s dual enrollment program with Georgia Perimeter College, Ray said graduating students from high school was no longer enough.
“We are really pushing college readiness in the high school,” Ray said. “We’re excited about the possibilities of what we can do with our students using new technology.”
Speaking last, Gary Hobbs, superintendent of Walton County Public Schools, thanked the other schools for their commitment to local education and partnering at times to provide the best opportunities for the children. He also pointed to his system’s recent test success.
“We consistently exceed the state’s performance,” Hobbs said. “We’ve got challenges just like everyone up here — budget, No Child Left Behind (Act) — but we’re confident we can meet them.”
Hobbs said the system’s success — such as the increase in enrollment at the Walton Career Academy, from 400 to 525, despite the move from one central location —was due to the teachers’ hard work and dedication.
“We try to retain a family climate in our schools,” Hobbs said. “Community is very important to us. We try to stay very involved.”