Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2011
Several teachers recently retired after years of dedicated service to the children of Vicksburg and Warren County. I would like to point out one for special recognition that we all know very well in Youth Court, Mrs. Lillie Cowan.
Twelve years ago, long before the legislature mandated it, Superintendent Donald Oakes created a position for a full-time teacher in the Warren County Juvenile Detention Facility. Superintendent James Price substantially upgraded the program by providing computers, state of the art software and anything else that we could show an educational need for.
Classes have been held in the detention facility gym and the children are given credit for regular school attendance just as if they were present at their home school. Their school books and class assignments are provided by their homeschool teachers. With a maximum capacity of 30, it is not hard to imagine the effort it has taken to assemble different lessons and then teach children of different ages in detention for serious offenses. They read poorly, they are usually a grade or two behind for their ages, and they certainly do not want to be there.
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It takes a unique person and an extraordinary effort to teach troubled children anywhere, but to do so in a nontraditional setting takes a very special person. Mrs. Cowan has done this for 12 years with compassion and enthusiasm. She has endured very serious personal health issues, but never let that stop her from her teaching duties.
Troubled children seem to realize when someone is sincere in her attempts to help them and they certainly know when someone couldn’t care less and is just trying to make a paycheck. This is why for 12 years this wonderful lady has walked among some of the most dangerous and misguided children in our community without any trouble. She has certainly earned her retirement.
On behalf of the Youth Court Staff and the children she tried tirelessly to help, we say “thank you” for a job well done.
John S. Price Jr.
County and Youth Court Judge