Rome wasn’t built in a day

Published 11:52 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

Most of you know already that I am a product of the Bertie County School system.

I was born and reared in Bertie County, attended Askewville Elementary School through eighth grade and then graduated four years later from Bertie High School.

While I have truly grown to love all of the schools here in the Roanoke-Chowan region, I have taken some ribbing over the years because of being a Bertie High graduate that spends so much time in Hertford and Northampton counties.

I cover sports in those three counties and sometimes in Gates County too and I have grown fond of all the schools in our coverage area.

Having said that, one of the things that has bothered me on a regular basis during the past 10 years is how Bertie High School has faltered academically. When I was a student there, we had good teachers, excellent coaches and top-notch administrators. I truly loved my experience as a high school student.

I’m not sure how many students over the past several years have been able to say that – not just at Bertie High, but the school district in general. The system had failed the students more often than not. Test scores plummeted and the school system was in disarray.

Over the past several years, the culture of the school district began to change. A fresh school board, new leadership and different principals led to a change in the daily way of doing business.

Students were put first, given tools to succeed and began doing just that.

This year’s test results are some of the best news Bertie County Schools has delivered in more than a decade and the students are to be commended for that good work.

Teachers should be proud, administrators pleased and the school board should be supportive of students, staff and administrative leadership.

Is Bertie County where it needs to be educationally? No. The system needs to continue to make strides until it becomes a district of distinction.

What is pleasing, however, is the increase in testing results that were given by District Testing Coordinator Eva White during Tuesday’s meeting. She was able to report that not only had test scores beaten the predicted scores by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, they had also exceeded the targets set by the school board.

That means the district test results are moving in a positive direction.

While we may all wish it would happen faster, we must remember the words I have heard since childhood, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Getting where they eventually need to will take time, effort and a continued emphasis on getting there.

It took years for the school district to reach the rock bottom it did several years ago and it will take time for it to get to a point where it is excelling at the level the students of Bertie County deserve.

The students and staff are making strides in the right direction, however, and that is something that should be celebrated.

You can rest assured this graduate of the school district is pleased to see the significant gains being made within it now.

Thadd White is Staff Writer and Sports Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached via email at or by telephone at 332-7211.