Bertie students support regional school

Published 9:59 am Saturday, March 6, 2010

WINDSOR – While thankful of local educational opportunities up to this point, students and parents of the Bertie Early College High School say a brighter future lies just beyond Bertie’s borders.

Appearing before the Bertie County Board of Education Monday night, students Colin White and Desiree Williams and parent Amber Dunlow each took time to address the board during the public comment section.

White began his remarks by thanking the school board and the Bertie County Commissioners for their work to start the Bertie Early College High School which focuses on Agri-Science and Biotechnology.

“I am so proud of the school board members and the county commissioners,” White said. “Thank you for your time and effort to make the school what it is.”

White said he and his classmates in the school have worked hard and they are college-ready even as freshmen and sophomores, but stressed the best opportunity for them is to move to the Vernon James Center as part of a regional concept.

The Bertie Early College High School began two years ago and has been widely popular in the school district and with state and local officials. A movement is underway to develop a regional Agri-Science and Biotechnology school in Washington County at the Vernon James Center.

While supportive of a regional school, the Bertie County Commissioners officially opposed the move to Washington County. The Bertie school board has taken no official position as of this time.

White told board members he had been to the Vernon James Center and felt there were greater opportunities for students at that site than could be offered in Bertie County.

“If you truly want what’s best for our education, why hold us back,” he asked.

Williams said she wanted the opportunity to move to the Vernon James Center because she felt like it would offer a better opportunity.

“All my teachers tell me to do well in school and then come back and help Bertie County, but how do I do that if you won’t let me leave,” she asked.

Dunlow said she toured the Vernon James Center last week with a group of students and parents and found a facility that would aid her child in getting a better education.

“The Vernon James Center offers so many opportunities,” Dunlow said. “I don’t see that in Bertie County or any way to get it in a timely manner.”

She said it was important for the future of the students to allow them to leave the school district and be part of the regional concept.

“I’m pleading with you on behalf of those kids,” she said. “Please let us go.”