"There is no better time than right now to be a George County rebel…"   

   To many of us here in George County, this slogan is familiar as we ride by the high school and look at the billboard. To students at George County High, this is practically gospel. But exactly what does this slogan mean? And for schools across the county, what exactly does the field of education bring to a community?

   The Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development states that "children who have a positive start to school are well positioned to build a sense of belonging that promotes engagement in the educational environment." Starting school is a key transitional element toward a quality education. Starting school can mean a first time kindergarten student on his or her first day or a 10th grader who is coming off Summer Vacation.

   In Australia children commonly don their school uniforms on the first day and go through a series of photographs and memory-building exercises. This event builds individual excitement and contributes to the recognition that school is a life-shaping event. In our county this process may vary but the each school has a similar code that engages the student with the learning process.

   Parents are invited to participate in the process through parent nights and other modes that allow the parent to become involved with their child’s educational attainment.  After the students become acclimated to their schools, the process of learning sets in.

   A key component in the process is the culture that a school sets in order to lead students to success. This culture is set by both the school and the community at large. The National Education Association states that "parent, family and community involvement in education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement."

   This has been increasingly the case with county schools. Positive outreach by the school district and each local school has produced a culture of community involvement that has meant better results. George County High School’s "A" ranking is a result of high standards and consistency set by the school along with parental and student involvement.

   High rankings by other schools in the county can also be attributed to this partnership. NEA further states that "community support of the educational process is considered one of the characteristics common to high-performing schools.

   The pay-off for school-community collaboration is evident. As individual achievement develops through the learning process, students enter college or career with a positive attitude and a feeling of confidence.

   Local communities gain by having these well adjusted and prepared young men and women take leading positions in jobs and in the community.  The socio-economic gains can help the community prosper and fuel even better results in the future.  It all starts at the local level.

   So when you first drop off your new kindergartener, take a moment to relish the moment and then get involved in the process that will see them and the community grow and prosper.

Murray Cowart is an editorial writer for the George County Times. He can be reached at

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