ECHS administration accessible

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, September 19, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
The Atmore United Fund board had to make the tough decision last Thursday afternoon to cancel its second annual fundraising drive kickoff event.
The festivities were slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. that day, but patchy thunderstorms that accompanied Hurricane Humberto drenched Atmore and had the board guessing. Should we call it? Will it be raining at 5 p.m.?
When it was all said and done, the event was cancelled and all involved were contacted to be made aware of the cancellation. It was a tough decision to make, but a good one. At 5:15 p.m., the rain began falling again at my house, which is only a few blocks from Heritage Park, where the event was to be held. The rain did slack up, but everyone would have been wet and attendance would have surely been down. Later on that evening and continuing into Friday, the rains continued to come and go, making Atmore that much more saturated.
As a member of the United Fund board, I was put in charge of contacting the Escambia County High School cheerleaders and band members and letting them know that the event had been cancelled and was rescheduled for this Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. Since I was nearby, I decided to drive over to the school and tell first-year principal Carl Raley in person instead of calling him on the phone. When I arrived at the school, I was shocked by the accessibility I had to the front office staff.
I reported to the front office as soon as I arrived at the school. An office aid greeted me and I requested to speak with Raley if he was available. In less than 20 seconds, the aid came back to the front desk and said "Yes, he's in," and he looked back to where Raley's office is located.
Dumfounded, I looked at the aid and said, "What do I just walk on back?" The aid simply peeped his head out from behind his biology book and said, "Yep!"
I must admit, I was shocked. Never in my three years working at the Advance had I went to the high school and it been that easy to meet with the principal. I'm sure it has been a long time since the citizens of Atmore that have lived here all their lives have had that type of access to their child's administrator.
When I approached Raley's office, I peeked around the corner to see him working on his computer. As I walked in, I said, "Now that's access." Raley spun around in his chair and grinned.
With the new administration at ECHS, there have been several noticeable changes, this is just one of many. The attitude of the students and the teachers have changed; it seems like a different school as you walk through the halls.
The staff at ECHS has done a tremendous job turning the school around and should be commended. Next time you are at the school checking out your son or daughter or at a Blue Devils football game, let them know how good a job they are doing and encourage them to continue the good work.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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