Last updated: February 20. 2014 12:13PM - 1032 Views
Tonia Stephenson Chamber Chat

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There is an old Chinese Proverb: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” A lifetime of greatness is exactly what I want to plan for and not just greatness in my life, but I hope to influence, for the better, the world around me.

This is a part of the mission of our Education Committee at the Chamber of Commerce. We don’t want our children to be taught just for them to regurgitate information for a test, but we want to plan for a lifetime. We want every child in Scotland County to be educated and ready for the “Real World” once they graduate, whether it is after high school or after college.

Before moving to Scotland County, I spent six years working with students from the ages of 5 to 18 who were at-risk youth. During this time, I learned so much from the young people who we served. One observation I continuously made during those years is that not one of them planned to grow up to not be a success. Many of these young people really had every reason in the world to fail, but many of them didn’t understand that concept. It seems that there are hurdles that come along the way that may not allow them the successes they deserve and if there is anything we can do as a Chamber, as a community, to knock down any hurdles for these young people, it is a great day for our county.

Our Education Committee is working on a project to help in preparing students for their future. Currently under a state program, most of our high school seniors have the opportunity to take the Work Keys test offered by Richmond Community College before they graduate. However, approximately 140 students do not have this opportunity. We would like to change that. It is our goal to help raise the funds needed to provide these tests for those students. We need help in doing this and if this is something you would like to support, we would appreciate the help. I would love to discuss this with you. Feel free to give me a call at 910-276-7420 or email me at tstephenson@laurinburgchamber.com.

As we build the future together for our community, let’s not forget the importance of planning for a lifetime and supporting the efforts that will give our young people all the tools they need to build a successful life. That will help solidify a successful future for our community.

Tonia Stephenson is president of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce.

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