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Chattooga Opinions

Column: Former CHS Valedictorian Speaks Out

AllOnGeorgia reached out to recent graduates, first time voters and current students of Chattooga High School to find out their opinion on the 4-day school schedule and will be publishing the responses in a series.

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Alex Huskey is a 2018 graduate of Chattooga, he made a 1380 on the SAT and was Chattooga’s Valedictorian and STAR student. He is attending the University of Georgia majoring in political science.

AOG: – How did CHS prepare you for college?

Huskey: CHS prepared me for college by providing me with the resources that I needed to not only get accepted, but to do well in college. Through the school’s incredible dual enrollment and AP programs I was able to enter college with 31 credit hours. This technically means I came to college as a sophomore with one year of college work already done thanks to CHS. Not only does it save me from paying for that full year, but it also has shown me what to expect from the more fast-paced and rigorous environment that is present at the University of Georgia and colleges all across the country.

AOG: What is your college schedule like?

Huskey: My college schedule this semester has 15 total credit hours of course load. This means that I am in class approximately 15 hours each week and I have classes Monday through Friday. I wake up typically at 8:30 AM and spend 2 to 3 hours in class each day. All of my classes are over by 5 PM and I use the remaining time in the day to study, work on homework, or attend events and meetings hosted on campus.

AOG:   How did having Monday’s off benefit you?

Huskey: Mondays off benefited me directly from the time it started. For most of my childhood and into my first couple of years in high school I suffered from intense and painful migraines. They got so bad and I was missing so much school because of them that I eventually started going to a neurologist. Thanks to the four-day school week, I was able to schedule these appointments on Mondays and to not miss more school than the migraines were already causing me too. Eventually the migraine problem thankfully went away, but there was still a great number of ways I benefited from the extra day off. The school offered extra EOC tutoring time on Mondays that I attended often and I was also able to use this time for personal studying and homework. When I reached my senior year of highschool and the challenge of paying for college became a real concern in my life, I knew I had to get a job. Being out on Mondays allowed me to be able to work longer hours into Sunday night and long hours on Monday. Now I have enough money saved to pay for my bachelor’s degree and I will not have to take on any debt

AOG: What grade were you in when the 4 day schedule started?

Huskey: I was in the fifth grade when we switched to the four-day school week. From what I remember of the adjustment to the four-day school week, it was an incredibly smooth transition. Everyone was excited about the idea and the new prospect of going to school one less day and the extra weekend day was such a weight off of my shoulders.

AOG: Whst is your GPA?

Huskey: My college GPA is currently a 4.0. That number does not include any grades from UGA as I have not completed a course here yet and it only includes my credits from Georgia Northwestern Technical College through dual enrollment.

AOG: What clubs do you participate in?

Huskey: I participate in two organizations currently: the UGA College Republicans and the Demosthenian Literary Society. Through the UGACRs I have been able to meet people like former US Senator Saxby Chambliss, Representative Jody Hice, and Public Service Commissioner Tricia Pridemore along with being able to make phone calls for the Brian Kemp campaign and volunteer in other ways. The Demosthenian Literary Society is one the oldest existing literary societies in the nation having been found in 1803. At the meetings we debate three issues extemporaneously: one political, one societal, and one for fun. It has a long list of influential past-members including John Barrow (former US Representative and current candidate for Secretary of State), Robert Benham (a current Supreme Court of Georgia Justice and the first African-American to serve in the position), and Herman Talmadge (former US Senator and former Governor of Georgia.)

To cap this all off, I would like to share with you why I support the four-day school week and ultimately why I voted for all the incumbents to remain on the school board. First, on the local level elections are far more about the people and policy than the party they are running under. While I agree with the many ideas of the national Republican Party, that does not always translate to the local level (same with my disagreements with the national Democratic Party.) The issues faced on a local level rarely correlate with those that the national parties are talking about and therefore many times they are two completely separate entities under the same name.

This leads me to my second reason which is that experience matters, not only my personal experience and the experience of students in the school system but also of those we are choosing to represent us and lead our schools. My personal experience has been nothing but great with the Chattooga County School District and it has now propelled me to going to my dream university debt-free. While I cannot speak for every student in the school district, I believe the numbers say a great deal themselves. These numbers include a dramatically increased graduation rate, higher than state-average ACT scores, and the most important number at the center of this are the eight years we have spent on a four-day school week which have made these improvements possible. Also, the three candidates whom I voted for (Eddie Massey, Alma Lewis, and Larry Weesner) all have experience of serving on the school board and serving the students of Chattooga County. Their opposition each are either experienced in working in other school systems or are lacking the education experience completely.

My final issue with the switch back to the five-day would be the collision with one of the main reasons I consider myself a Republican in the first place, fiscal conservatism. Simply put, the four-day school week is the fiscally conservative thing to do and therefore I am very surprised the Republicans do not support it. According to an article from All On Georgia, to switch back to five-days, it would cost nearly $800,000 dollars. To accommodate this, the millage rate (which has been going down for many years) would have to be increased. I must reiterate that this is not a fiscally conservative practice to support and therefore, while they may have a D beside their name, I believe the Democrats on this issue are the ones who are taking a conservative stance.

Ultimately, what I believe is most important in this pivotal election are the three things: the politicians (who has the experience to represent our students and community on the school board), personal experience (who can ensure that each student in the Chattooga County School District has the best experience and opportunities available to them), and policy (who is going to continue to save our county money, continue to keep the millage rate low, and continue to improve the graduation rates and test scores.) For these reasons I must support maintaining a four-day school week for the Chattooga County School District and reelecting the incumbent members of the school board.

Thanks again,

Alex Huskey

South Summerville Baptist

Casie Bryant is the NW Georgia Regional Manager for AllOnGeorgia.

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