Third grader inspires Christmas spirit at board meeting

The Moore County Board of Education heard a student’s statement on the Christmas spirit after the board rescinded its proposal to change the name of McDeeds Elementary School at a special business meeting Dec. 12. The meeting was held at the North Moore High School auditorium in Robbins.

Vice Chair David Hensley, a 20-year retired marine, had proposed the school renaming after a deceased Medal of Honor recipient at the previous meeting.

Citizens stated outrage and disapproval at the proposed name change in social media posts.

“I will not let controversy tarnish the memory of one of our heroes…Our mission is returning discipline and safety to our schools and to restore academic excellence and fiscal responsibility,” Hensley said.

Carthage Elementary School’s third-grade student, Gia Blake, was introduced to read an inspirational poem and read a statement about the attack on the electrical grid instead.

“A Grinch tried to steal our Christmas,” Blake said about the community coming together to help one another with warm shelter and free food.

“Instead of being glum, we giggled,” Blake said about playing games under the flashlight’s glow.

“We stood up to that Grinch just like the people of Whoville, and I bet if the real Grinch was watching, his heart would grow at least ten times bigger,” Blake said, and attendees rose from their seats, applauding.

During the board action meeting, the board reinstated the valedictorian and salutatorian honor system.

Member Stacy Caldwell was the only member to vote against the honor system. Hensley said valedictorians and salutatorians were eliminated from the previous board on the excuse that it was too difficult to discern winners, but there was a staff of doctoral administration who could accomplish the discernment.

Hensley said the existing Latin honors system was a fancy name for a dean’s honor roll.

“They can coexist,” Hensley said about the existing system and recognizing academia’s highest achieving students.

Caldwell said parents and citizens need to have input and questioned if changing the system now would damage students with seven months left in the school year. She said facilities should be a priority.

Chair Robert Levy said the board needed a conservative approach and that it was simple to reinstate the policy that had been in effect for a long time.

“I remember Mr. Lincoln and I discussing it,” Levy laughed about the valedictorian and salutatorian honor system being in place since he was a child.

Shannon Davis said students who work well with their hands should also be recognized.

The strategic school plan includes recognizing vocational and military career path students.

The board passed a motion to amend the meeting schedule to include meeting at area schools.

~Article by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected]

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