VWSD unique, progressive

Published 7:50 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2018

One of the things about becoming almost a “one-man band” in the newspaper business is the opportunity to learn more about the different government agencies you find yourself beginning to deal with on a regular basis.

And one of those is the Vicksburg Warren School District. I’m only beginning to get acquainted with the school system and the board of trustees. By no stretch is this my first time dealing with school boards. I’ve covered them in Louisiana, Alabama and in Amite County, Mississippi. I’ve attended the meetings, gone to schools for stories, even covered a few demonstrations and fights in the schools (in other areas). I’ve known superintendents, principals, fought with school boards in Louisiana over the open meetings law, and with a community college board in Mississippi over the open records law.

One thing I’m finding out about the Vicksburg Warren School District is its progressiveness. The administration and the Board of Trustees are not shy about being innovative to give students a chance to compete in the working world, and giving them a chance to learn where they fit in as far as careers.

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This is something I haven’t seen in the other school systems I’ve covered. A lot of them were content to keep status quo. Other boards were so riddled with politics, they were at a standstill; one board in Louisiana was against anything recommended by anyone other than a board member. It was covering a Louisiana school board that I learned something. I’ve always been told that every man has his price. In one Louisiana parish I was surprised at how cheap someone could be bought.

But back to Warren County. I find the school board’s career education programs unique, and wish they had been around when I was in school. Back then, when we had just three TV channels and FM radio was just coming into its own. It was difficult to get someone to help me find my niche; where I belonged career-wise. One counselor I met with tried his best to tell me what I couldn’t do rather than help me find my strengths and interests and help me plan from there.

I was at the time a confused kid. That’s one reason I went into journalism; I had too many interests, and working as a reporter let me work with most of the things that interested me, like history, government, and when I was on the Coast, hurricanes and the Navy.

I believe I would have done well in the Vicksburg Warren School System’s career education program; I believe I would have received the help to find what career suited me and received the direction to successfully pursue it.

I’m not saying the school district is not without problems; many of the district’s I covered in the past faced the same problems with test scores, discipline and lack of parental interest, and I’m looking forward to a new adventure as I get further in the district.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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