Just the Facts

Big Brothers/Sisters may be coming to Franklin

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Henrietta Haithcock

A few items of business were spotlighted during the Feb. 19 Macon County Board of Education (BOE) meeting, held at Macon Early College (MEC). However, as is the typical flow of BOE agendas, special programs and recognitions were front and center.

“[BOE meetings are] a special opportunity to recognize the excellence of teachers,” commented Superintendent Josh Lynch. Gloria Painter is MEC Teacher of the Year, Nancy Ritter is MEC Support Person of the Year, and Joshua Mason received the FHS Student Recognition.  

“I swell up with pride for you because you are an example of what students need to be. You shine … a bright star,” said Chairman Jim Breedlove regarding Mason’s recognition. 

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Lynch addressed an item on the meeting’s agenda pertaining to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, a national, 100-plus-year-old mentoring program in which qualifying students are visited at school for a one-hour session during a lunch period or other non-academic time period. Big Brothers/Big Sisters WNC has had a presence in Cashiers and Highlands, but not in Franklin. 

According to Board Attorney John Henning Jr., the following requirements would be outlined in a Franklin program policy: Background checks of each FHS student volunteer or other volunteer; activities to take place on school property; and, counseling staff to identify potential students. Other issues discussed involved details regarding volunteer mentors taking students on and off campus for trips such as athletic events, and more. 

Board member Stephanie Laseter also raised the question: “Is the school system indemnified in case of any problems or other health issues that may occur?” Henning affirmed that the school system was covered. However, before the BOE voted on allowing the Big Sisters/Big Brothers program in Franklin, Henning said, “I will look over the program to clarify the details of activities allowed before voting on an approval at the next meeting.”

Internet expansion in Nantahala

THE BALSAMWEST fiber network company asked and received permission for an easement to install fiber communications at Nantahala School (pictured at the top of the story).

A BalsamWest Easement at Nantahala School, the K-12 Macon County school in Topton, was granted by the board with a motion by vice chair Melissa Evans and seconded by board member Diedre Breeden. Explained Tim Burrell, chief technology officer, “Nantahala School and all Macon County school locations have had BalsamWest fiber for 20 years. This is a request for an easement to install a 10×10 concrete pad and fiber equipment at Nantahala School. This would enable BalsamWest to have a distribution point to provide fiber to the new Nantahala Library, the fire department, EMS, and in turn being able to provide fiber to business and residents in the Nantahala area.” 

The next meeting of the Macon County Board of Education will be held on Monday, March 25, at Macon Middle School.

Haithcock is a children’s book author. She wrote “The Secret Life of Mr. Brownie” and contributed to the latest edition of the locally published Suminski Family Books’ Animal Stories series. She shares this story as a read-aloud for families this Christmas.