Education flows both ways
Published 9:48 am Tuesday, March 9, 2004
I make several trips each week to Brewton area schools to take pictures or to get more information about projects students are working on, and those visits are one of my favorite parts of this job.
What I see in students -- from pre-school to high school -- is what it's like to have talents to pursue and ambition to channel, before adulthood makes us all too busy to act on those things.
A few weeks ago, for example, I was scheduled to take some photos of the choral group at T.R. Miller High School and I got to the classroom a few minutes early. I stood outside the door while they practiced and I felt like I had been given a rare chance.
Stripped of the formality of bow ties and cummerbunds or the anxiety of eager audience members and perfect posture, the performance I heard was a clear translation of their talent, hard work and good training.
On one level, my visits to schools or youth events are like a peek behind the curtain into what our youth are involved in, their accomplishments, opportunities and the support of their instructors.
That aspect is interesting enough, but there's another level too -- the lessons we can learn, or be reminded of, as adults. Spend time in a school and you may remember what it was like to be excited about new projects, new subjects, discovering new talents within yourself.
Young people get these opportunities because they need options and education to help them know what to be when they grow into adults. We, as grownups, need interests and hobbies to make us happier, more productive adults.
We can take inspiration from what's going on week to week in our local schools.
It's no secret that our schools face hardships due to funding cuts, but what I see when I visit the schools is hope as a result of the enthusiasm of students and the dedication of teachers, administrators, parents and the community.
I saw one example of that dedication several weeks ago when Rev. H.K. Matthews spoke to the kids at Brewton's Head Start program about Martin Luther King's birthday.
Do three- and four-year-olds understand the civil rights movement? I don't know if they do, but I'm glad that their teachers and people from their community are talking to them about it now so they will better understand this country's history and our society as they grow.
Essentially, I don't think the education of our children just flows in one direction. If we foster it, there can be an exchange of knowledge and perspective between youth and adults.
I'm excited to say that Monday night, I'll go to Brewton Middle School to see what some kids there are doing with NASA and quasars. Maybe one of them can teach me what a quasar is.