Gary Hobbs speaks to Chamber of Commerce
Walton County Public Schools Superintendent Gary Hobbs speaks to members of the Walton County Chamber of Commerce at a recent ‘Education Summit.’

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.”

News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

(3) comments

Paul Finch

Somebody please speak up and tell Hobbs to stop comparing our schools to state averages. Georgia is near the bottom of the barrel so why would we strive to beat the average of a failing state?

Relativity. If you compare yourself with your couch in your living room you're not moving very fast at all. If you compare yourself with something static in our solar system (like the sun) you are spinning 1000 mph just sitting on Earth's surface. You are also revolving 67,000 mph around the sun.

Compared to Dekalb County public schools, Walton County schools are awesome. Compared to Oconee County, we suck.

Don't fall for smoke and mirrors illusions.

SENIOR CITIZEN

Mr. Finch, you need to know what you are talking about before you start running your mouth. I'll try to make this simple so you can understand. In the 1970's we sent a moron to Washington to be president. Carter had just finished "messing up the state of Georgia", and then started on the Federal Government. One of his major acts was to create the Department of Education. Since that time people in Washington have made decisions about education in the states. It was their decision to judge the education of our children by "testing" and ranking them. Mr Hobbs was only "describing" our schools by the standards he is given by the federal government. Our current Supt., Mr Hobbs, is doing an excellent job in straightening out the mess left to him. The current Board of Education is also doing a good job. Recently we have heard rumors of elected officials who support abolishing the Federal Dept. of Edu. I fully support that. Our local school officials know more about what is needed in Walton County than someone in Washington who has no idea where Walton County is located. And, just think what the school system could do if all that money we send to Washington for education which is used to pay thousands of employees up there could be kept here in Georgia. The people of Georgia have always supported local education, even founding the first state university in 1875 when the Charter for the Univ. of Ga. was granted. Oh yes! You need to look up the most current "rankings" available. Loganville is close to the top, Social Circle slightly below them, and Monroe is in the top half of all high schools in Georgia.

Paul Finch

I'd love to see your "rankings" and the criteria used in their rankings. I need a good laugh. Please share. I'm all ears. lol

I'll give MAHS a #1 ranking. They were under a federal desegregation order longer than any other school in history. Almost every decision ever made at that school has been influenced by racial issues.

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