Setting a ‘PACE’ for the state

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More than 200 students from more than 15 schools in south Alabama were in Florala Monday, attending the annual PACERS conference.

PACERS is a non-profit organization committed to sustaining and celebrating Alabama’s rural communities and schools and linking them together to build the good futures they seek by organizing and supporting comprehensive rural education and community development programs of national quality.

In the Florala area, three such PACERS programs are in place – the community newspaper at Florala City Middle School and the aquaculture program and solar/greenhouse project at Florala High School. Additionally, W.S. Harlan Elementary School was recognized for its community documentation program.

“PACERS is about making a job,” said president Dr. Jack Shelton as he addressed a group of students in the community newspaper session. “It’s not about taking a job. This program is about getting the skills and going to work and developing it into a job.”

The PACERS annual conference brings together PACERS participants, schools and communities to celebrate and interpret the year’s work, to plan for 2010-11, and to explain the organization’s objectives and activities. This was first time the organization has held its annual conference in a Covington County School.

FHS principal Donny Powell said he was pleased the school had been chosen.

“Our students and staff work very hard at these programs,” Powell said. “The hands on approach is what engages students and gets them interested in learning.”

Students from schools in Flomaton, Loachapoka, Camp Hill, Packer’s Bend, Sand Rock, Gaylesville, Spring Garden, Section, Beatrice, Steele, Pintala and Monroe County.

Attendees were also treated to a dinner of fried fish, all of which was harvested from the school’s aquaculture program.