SPAN grads ‘excited’ about future

Published 5:02 pm Friday, August 8, 2014

Twenty-five graduates of Chilton County’s Special Program Achievement Network stood in front of family, friends and community supporters as they received their diplomas.

The commencement ceremony took place at Clanton City Hall on Wednesday, and honored students that either received their GED or would be returning to public school.

The purpose of SPAN is to help students who have fallen behind in Chilton County’s public schools to catch up with their grade level or earn a GED in preparation of college or the workforce.

This year’s program produced at least 11 students returning to school in August, six returning to school in January, three employed in full-time work positions, and several more who have achieved their GED and already begun college classes.

The commencement ceremony began with music by Sherry Hartley, an invocation by President Kevin George and an introduction by Coordinator Amanda Hicks.

Superintendent-elect Tommy Glasscock was the commencement speaker, and Judge Rhonda Hardesty presented the diplomas.

Hicks thanked all of the SPAN supporters, including Mayor Billy Joe Driver and the city of Clanton, the Chilton County Board of Education and Hardesty and the juvenile court.

Glasscock shared the progress he’s witnessed in the graduating class.

“When I visited the classrooms, what I saw was excitement,” Glasscock said. “I hope that you will all leave here excited about the future.”

Hicks said the program meets the needs of students age 12-18, and offers educational programs and counseling.

“The students spend about four hours in the classroom each day, and then participate in group counseling to develop life skills,” Hicks said. “Everyone has a different goal they’re working toward.”

SPAN state coordinator Charles Foley attended the ceremony and commended Chilton County for its excellence in the program.

“This program is definitely in the top two SPAN programs of the state,” Foley said. “There is so much community involvement here, and that is most important.”

Foley overlooks 10 SPAN programs throughout Alabama.

Sophomore Caitlyn Price was one of many graduates that will return to public school later this month.

“The teachers were the best,” Price said. “They helped me do a lot of work and catch up.”

The Chilton County SPAN staff includes Hicks, Counselor Tina Blanchard, Counselor Essie Coleman, Teacher Troy Goss and Teacher Sherry Hartley.

SPAN Advisory Board Members include President Kevin George, Treasurer Harold Jarmon and Secretary Shannon Wright.