By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
As the result of a partnership signed on Wednesday, Aug. 30 between officials from Cherokee Central Schools and Swain County Schools with the Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (JCCCC), students at those schools will be able to co-enroll providing better opportunities all around.
“It’s good to see different entities coming together for one common goal, and that is to help young people achieve their goals,” said Jimmy Copeland, JCCCC director, during Wednesday’s event held at the JCCCC gymnasium. “From completing their education, to acquiring a skill, developing social skills, whatever it may be, just having each group of people all together, invested in our youth, speaks volumes.”
In speaking to the JCCCC students gathered for Wednesday’s event, Copeland noted, “These people are here as a testament to you and students like yourselves and the investment that they’re making into your lives. It’s something that, in my mind, is insurmountable.”
He added, “We’re signing an agreement showing that we’re going to be working together to engage youth from a variety of communities, Swain County Schools as well as Cherokee Central Schools, and we’re creating an opportunity for them to be co-enrolled here at our Center. This also means that our students will have the ability to be co-enrolled there as well. So, it’s mutually-beneficial. This also provides avenues for you guys to grow.”
Through the co-enrollment agreement, JCCCC students will be able to partake in other activities at the schools including sports.
Dr. Michael Murray, Cherokee Central Schools superintendent, said, “We’re extremely excited about creating opportunities, and I’m privileged to have worked with many of you out there in different settings and in different regions for a common goal. And, that common goal is to make sure that we are not only celebrating our children, but we’re engaging our kids and we’re making sure that they find the right path. Our goal has always been to make sure that all of our children in the mountains are going to be successful. And, to be successful, we have to create these opportunities.”
Debora Foerst, Cherokee High School principal, said JCCCC officials visited her about a year ago to suggest the partnership. “We were more than excited because every chance we get an opportunity to provide more opportunities for our students, we jump at them. And, this was a perfect partnership. Location is unbeatable. They’re in our front yard.”
She said that in her years with Cherokee Central Schools, there hasn’t been a partnership such as this. “So, I’m super excited for what this can do for our students at Cherokee High School. I’m excited for what we can do for the students here at the Oconaluftee Job Corps.”
Sam Pattillo, Swain County Schools superintendent, praised the students at JCCCC, “I admire what you’re doing and what you’re standing for and what you’re trying to do with your lives to better yourselves and to prepare yourselves for the challenges in the future. I am so impressed with the staff at Job Corps for reaching out and for working toward making this opportunity together.”
Information from Job Corps states, “The Job Corps program is the nation’s largest residential, educational, and career technical training program that prepares economically disadvantaged youth, ranging in age from 16 to 24, for productive employment. Civilian Conservation Centers are associated with national forests or grasslands and are operated by the Forest Service under an inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor, which has the overall management of the Job Corps program.”