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Commentary: Collaboration path to success for students

The Ladders to Hope celebration event this week at the Franklin Theatre demonstrated two very important things about Williamson County. 
First, our community leaders are responding to the desires of a proactive younger generation that has managed to adopt the pretty significant concern for seeing their peers succeed. 
In this highly competitive and achievement-driven community, it is comforting to say the least to watch students, who have been blessed with a good bit of natural scholarship, extend a hand to those who need a bit of extra help in meeting their academic goals. 
Without patting ourselves as parents on the back too much (although some days I certainly need a few pats) I think our kids are beginning to find a balance between competition and collaboration. 
Don’t get me wrong, I am much more competitive than I would like to admit (just ask my husband and my boss), but so much of what we do in the adult world involves pulling together toward common goals, whether in a family or in the workplace. My generation, if I can say that, is pretty competitive, but with the growth of youth sports, I believe we all gained the opportunity to learn how to work together rather than in competition.
It seems that Dr. Looney perceived something special in the hearts and minds of students who wanted to see their peers achieve an ACT score that would provide a path forward to college paid for by the state’s Hope Scholarship.
The second revelation for me is that the Williamson County Board of Education and the Franklin Special School District Board of Education collaborated to promote additional student success by establishing the Williamson County Education Foundation. The foundation has been a catalyst for driving community involvement, specifically funding for projects like the one celebrated this week. 
Money for laptops is available in our community, but how to transport those dollar resources toward viable initiatives requires chartering a non-profit organization. While these two boards cannot by law coordinate their respective state and federal mandates, there is a respectful, collegial relationship that exists. That was evident when Williamson County School Board Member Rick Wimberly and FSSD School Board Member Robert Blair joined to represent their districts as part of the foundation. Wimberly said it well. 
“Ladders to Hope shows what can be done when the community pulls together.” 
Pam Horne is managing editor of the Herald.

Posted on: 11/7/2013


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