Ag School discussed in Bertie

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2008

WINDSOR – There is talk of another new high school in Bertie County that may end up being the first of its kind in the state.

Bertie County Schools Superintendent Dr. Chip Zullinger, officials from North Carolina State University (NCSU) and others from Shaw University met here Thursday night to discuss that possibility.

The new school, if formed, would be an agricultural high school, or &uot;Ag School,&uot; in which students could enter high school as normal in ninth grade and complete certain courses of study, enabling them to graduate with not only a high school diploma, but also a two-year degree.

Zullinger told the Bertie Board of Education of the possible partnership during Monday night’s regular board meeting.

&uot;If we move forward with this, it may become a school underneath NCSU, which is unprecedented almost,&uot; he stated then.

Zullinger told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in a telephone interview Friday what happened during Thursday night’s meeting.

&uot;We had a group of folks down from NCSU and we believe that they’ve got an interest in being a strong partner in an effort like this. We also had a group of scientists and the Vice President of Shaw who were there and they could be of great assistance to us in developing a school like this,&uot; he stated.

The key now, according to Zullinger, is finding out if there is enough community support for the Ag School to move forward.

&uot;In Bertie County, 82 percent of the economy is agriculturally based, so for a school like this to succeed we’d have to have strong interest from that community,&uot; Zullinger stated.

He continued, &uot;If we have the kind of response that I am hoping we’ll have, it’s something I’d like to offer to our rising eighth graders next fall.&uot;

Anyone in the agricultural business who is interested can contact Dr. Zullinger’s office at the Bertie County Board of Education building (794-6014) or any BOE member.

&uot;Many kids don’t view farming as something they’d like to do anymore, but fact of the matter is it’s something that is much-needed and we’ve got the potential to turn out the kinds of kids who could take those jobs one day,&uot; Zullinger added.

He continued, &uot;Part of this would be what people remember as the old agricultural farming programs, but it would also be more on the research and scientific side of things.&uot;