‘The Coffee Buzz’ featured at Board meeting

At Monday night’s meeting of the Jeff Davis County Board of Education, the board recognized special needs students who run “The Coffee Buzz” at Jeff Davis High School, serving coffee and refreshments to students and faculty at the school.
Instructors Jennifer Cox and Leah Flowers explained how students can order on a coffee shop app and teachers have been cooperating with the program by allowing students to bring coffee into their classrooms. Proceeds from the effort go toward supporting the students and the school. Additionally, the special needs students deliver orders to students and teachers which enables the students to meet other students they normally would not see because of their relatively isolated instructional environment, helping them to develop essential social skills.
Some students have even been buying for their whole class and others “pay it forward” by doing the same.
School Superintendent Dr. Chris Roppe lauded the students and their teachers saying they were an example of the kind of students and staff in the school system.
Students recognized were Irene Daniels, Kayla Edwards, Dalton Forehand, Devin Hamby, Derek Johnston, Noah Parker, Dakota Stafford, Carson Taylor, Matthew Towe, Hector Trejo, Angeles Villeda, Dakota Moore, Jacob Williams, Joshua Fussell, Kasidy Reed and Zackory Livingston
Coach Dustin Allen recognized the high school boys Cross Country Team. The school is now in its sixth year with he program and the juniors on the team have been in the program since the sixth grade.
Allen specifically pointed to freshman Pierce Parlor who set a school record in the 5K with a time of 17 minutes. The team won the region championship for the second time and placed fourth in the state behind private schools Lovett and Pace Academy, and Banks County, making the Jackets the second best public school in the state. Allen added that the top six runners return for next year’s season.
Students on the team were Pierce Parlor, Kevin Vega, Briley Reyes, Skyler Cravey, Levi Manning, Logan Carelock and Igancio Lopez.
While the schools had to be closed a few days because of heavy rains that made many dirt roads on bus routes unsafe, Transportation Director Alvin Merritt said the number of days missed would have been much higher had it not been for the work of Jeff Davis County Roads Superintendent Robert Lewis and his employees.
Merritt commended Lewis for his unprecedented level of support for the schools’ transportation system, riding the bus routes on a regular basis to ensure the roads were safe for the buses. When Merritt and fellow transportation department employee Johnny Bohannon ride the roads and find portions that need attention, Lewis is contacted and his department responds quickly.
Dr. Roppe, in awarding Lewis a plaque of appreciation, explained it was in response to what the road department had done a few weeks before, when the employees worked through the weekend to repair damaged roads so students could attend school the following Monday.
In accepting the recognition, Lewis lauded the commitment to the county shown by new County Administrator Oakley Perry who was present at the meeting in support of Lewis and his department.
Lewis pointed out that the county has 360 miles of dirt roads and maintaining them is “like driving from here to North Carolina at 5 miles per hour.”
Athletic Director Roger Metts gave an update on winter sports (basketball, wrestling, and cheerleading). All the sports were hit hard by the COVID pandemic and its restrictions, causing games and matches to be forfeited, cancelled or postponed.
Metts described COVID as a “nightmare” for the student athletes and coaches. “We’ve had to navigate through and try to do the best we can,” Metts said. “Our coaches have done a great job taking care of the kids.”
Metts praised the Board of Education, saying, “We appreciate everything the board does to help our kids and work with our facilities.” Metts said the facilities were widely recognized by coaches from other school systems who come to Hazlehurst to compete.
Dr. Roppe gave the board an update on improvements to the sports facilities, pointing out specifically the work being done on practice fields for band and sports that will result in athletes not having to walk across Pat Dixon Road to practice.
In other action, the board ….
…. heard from Dr. Roppe who, with School Board Appreciation Week set for March 15-19, recognized board members and thanked them for all they have done to support the school.
…. approved placing on the table for 30 days for public review an updated policy on promotion and retention.
…. heard a financial report from Finance Director Betty Corbitt.
…. approved improvements to the girls softball fields.
…. approved Tammy Girtman as a part-time employee for the remainder of the school year
…. accepted the retirements of Leaette Williamson, Lydia Parlor, Debra Herrington, Donna Wilcox and Brenda Davenport.
…. accepted the resignations of Katlynn Poole and Tracy N. Adams.
…. approved the 2021-2022 Certified Administrative Personnel and Certified Staff recommendations.
…. hired Tina Brantley – School Improvement Specialist, JDMS; Daisy Lopez – Paraprofessional, JDES; Hogan White and Cody Ogilvie – Level II Volunteer Coach/Baseball.
…. okayed new incentives for bus drivers.
…. approved Karson Kirkland to transfer to JDPS regular education.

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