03/15/04 — B.F. Grady High School sought

View Archive

B.F. Grady High School sought

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 15, 2004 1:58 PM

ALBERTSON -- Some parents of B.F. Grady Elementary School students are asking the county to build a high school in their community.

One of the parents, Maria Williams, translated for several Spanish speaking parents attending a meeting Thursday in the school cafeteria. About 100 people met with high school steering committee members and county government and school administration officials.

The high school steering committee has been meeting for the past couple of months.

One of the parents, Wendy Taylor, asked about doing what Spring Creek did in Wayne County, with a kindergarten through fifth-grade school and a high school. "Why not let this be the high school and build a K-through-6big enough to take care of both?"

Her idea drew applause from the audience.

Eight people in the audience said they graduated from B.F. Grady when it was a high school.

The last graduating class turns 60 this year, said panelist Jackie Stroud. "The worst day of my life was the day I graduated. ... I went to a small school. My kids went to a large school, and I got the education."

The new B.F. Grady Elementary School, built to house 445 students in grades kindergarten through eight, has 791 children. Children from B.F. Grady and those from Chinquapin and Beulaville go to East Duplin High School.

The trend in education today is small high schools with no more than 400 students, said panelist Mike Davis. Research has shown smaller schools have increased graduation rates and lower dropout rates, he said.

"They have increased parental involvement and support, increased student participation, reduced loss of personal property and vandalism," Davis said.

Panelist Alice Scott said projections based on current growth of the student body show B.F. Grady will have about 900 students in 2008, and that year, there will be enough to fill up a high school with 400 students.

"The Board of Education has planned by 2008 to add 12 classrooms, and that projection is already outdated," she said. "By bringing those students back, you'd eliminate overcrowding at East Duplin High School. ... It doesn't matter what we want. We've got to have money to do that."

A bond referendum is one possibility, she said.