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New HCSD school board installed (with video)

NEW SCHOOL BOARD – A crowd of concerned citizens, and school leadership gathered to witness the swearing in ceremony for the Hazlehurst City School District’s new school board members. Pictured from the left are Rowan Torrey, Dr. Gerri Hill-Chance, Coach Emmett Smith, Alberta Nelson and Dr. Troy Stewart.

By Bonnie L. Jackson
News Editor

The City of Hazlehurst officially installed the new school board on Monday, January 13, 2014 at the   Hazlehurst City School District’s, HCSD, administrative offices.
Henry C. Banks, Mayor, and the Board of Aldermen held a swearing in ceremony for the Hazlehurst City School District (HCSD) School Board members.
The is another step in effort to guide the school district out of conservatorship.

 In his opening remarks, Mayor Banks stated,  “I am thankful to God for this opportunity to be a part of this occasion of the swearing of our school board.”  
Mayor Banks tied a moral responsibility to the work of those in charge of educating the students attending HCSD.
The foundation for his moral imperative was found in the first verses of the Bible,   “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be…, and everything there is came to be -– the flowers, the birds, the trees and everything in between. And believe it or not, God ordained this day. He knew from the very beginning of time that this gathering of individuals would be together on this day. This is not a surprise to him.”
“And He gave man dominion over everything He made.  School board members, we give you dominion over the Hazlehurst City School District. And He said one day He was coming back again, and He is going to check on every one of us, and we are going to have to give an account of what we have done. We owe it to the young minds that have been entrusted to us to do the very best we can do for them because we are going to have to pay for all that we have done,” concluded Mayor Banks.  
In giving the word of encouragement, Alderman Ron Sims thanked the board for accepting this challenge to serve your community and to serve this great school. “I hope that the training that you will receive from the Mississippi School Board Association will provide you the information to prepare you to do your job.”
Ron Sims, Daryl McMillan, and Frank Jones, Aldermen; Byron Swilley, Hazlehurst Chief of Police and Darian Murray, Assistant Chief, each were enlisted to hold bibles for each board member so that they could take the oath of office. Alberta Nelson, Rowan Torrey, Dr. Troy Stewart, Emmett Smith and Dr. Gerri Hill-Chance took the oath of office.  
Each member of the newly sworn in school board were given the opportunity to give a brief speech.  This was the first time many in the community will have official statements from the new school board.
Coach Emmett Smith stated,  “I am so proud  you opened the meeting with a prayer because I am a man of prayer myself. I look forward to working with you, and I hope we can do what is best for this school district.” Smith will serve four years on the board.
“I am, first of all, apprehensive, but happy  to be here. My life has been like a boomerang. I left here in 1967,  part of one of the last classes to finish at  Parrish High School. I didn’t start working today, I’ve working every since I was given the appointment. I have been walking, and feeling, and talking to people, and looking at the job that needs to be done. The school didn’t get this way over night, and it will not be corrected over night. We are here for the long haul. And probably, some of us will have met our maker before the true fruit comes into fruition. Thank you all for trusting me,” stated Dr. Troy Stewart.
“I am excited to see so many have come today for this is an important occasion. My  history in this district is very deep. In my family there is over 300 years of teaching in this district.  I really believe that God has made a way for me in my life to be a part of this. I want to challenge you that we need to put aside personal agendas and look at the real purpose, that we are here to help these students.  We know that we can have a great school system because we have seen it before. I see some of the teachers here who helped make it happen. Hazlehurst has deep roots. We need to go back and look at those things that worked, and work for our young people and focus on them. It is not about me. It is not about you. It’s about these students. And if we keep those things first, God will lead us to those things that he will have us to do in his time and place.  Again, I am excited about having this opportunity to serve,” stated Rowan Torrey.
Dr. Hill-Chance, like those before her established her connection to the school district.  “I am a product of Hazlehurst High School. Hazlehurst was always a really good school. I was proud to say that I attended Hazlehurst, but now the kids seem embarrassed to say that they attend Hazlehurst. We want to make it so that they will be glad to say that they attend Hazlehurst, and received a good education. I look forward to working with my other board members. We need to work together, and we will be calling on the community to help us out.”
“I am proud to be a member of this board. I hope that we can all work together to do what is best for the school because the students deserve it,  and it is long overdue,” stated Alberta Nelson.
The next step for the board members is to attend school board training on January 16-18. The Mississippi School Board Association will conduct the training on the Hind Community Campus located in Raymond.
The school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

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