My view of high school has been forever changed for the better

Published 10:21 am Friday, January 24, 2020

Whenever I’m given the opportunity to go into a high school and walk among the students, I am instantly transported back to when I was a student.

It doesn’t matter the year — or the decade for that matter — when you were in high school, you can remember the walk between classes, the rush to beat a tardy bell and the quick conversations you had with your friends as you made a bee-line to the next class.

For me, one of those moments of time travel happened Thursday during visits to Warren Central High School and Vicksburg High School with Post photographer Courtland Wells.

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As we were both being escorted to and from the classrooms and labs we had the great pleasure to visit, and both of us had a comment or two about our time in high school; our experiences, even though they themselves were separated by more than a decade.

Even with all the similar feelings, however, the experiences we both had Thursday were far, far different than what either one of us could remember.

In interviewing students, teachers and administrators for this weekend’s feature on the hydroponic and aquaponic programs at the schools, where students are leading programs to grow vegetables in the most unique, fascinating ways, Courtland and I were floored; we didn’t expect to see what we saw.

At both schools, we saw the most amazing set-ups and working gardens. In one school, we saw tomato plants that were more than 3-feet tall and just recently had to be cut back because they were touching the ceiling. In another, we saw a water system where nutrients for the plants were being provided through a recycled water system that included live tilapia.

We saw lettuce plants flourishing, tomatoes literally falling from the plants, and young collard and mustard green plants inching their way ever higher.

But what was most impressive is that both programs and both schools were being led by the students, excited to demonstrate what they had learned and sharing stories both of their successes and their failures. Teachers and administrators were on the side, no doubt beaming with pride about what their students had accomplished.

Heck, I had nothing to do with either program and I stood there in awe, proud of what our schools were today doing for our students.

I enjoyed high school. I had great teachers who I thank every single day for the lessons they taught me — both from the book and from their experiences. But there was nothing like I saw Thursday, nothing like what I and Courtland experienced.

As we left Courtland said it perfectly, “my high school experience was just so boring compared to this.” I agree.

What our children have the opportunity to learn and explore is so far from what I am familiar with, far from what I could ever imagine and it is happening right here in Vicksburg.

These programs are just a few examples of how the career academy structure at Vicksburg High and Warren Central are reshaping education in Vicksburg and Warren County.

 

Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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