Byrd on mission for success at ECHS

Published 11:21 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Success in high school translates to success in life and Escambia County High School Principal Zickeyous Byrd is working to point students in the direction of success.

A new project called “Operation Success” has been developed to address what Byrd refers to as an unacceptable graduation rate for the school.

“Currently our high school graduation rate stands at 81 percent,” Byrd said. “This is unacceptable. We cannot and will not allow 19 percent of our students to go through 12 or 13 years of school and not cross the finishing line. The students who have a mind to graduate and succeed will succeed.”

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Byrd said the success of the program relies as much on members of the community as on the students.

“We just have to make their future a little brighter and clearer,” Byrd said. “In order to help our effort to provide a quality education to all students at ECHS, we are asking the community to support our mission.”

Byrd said every student should have the opportunity to attend an institution of higher education and believes the “Operation Success” project will help students achieve that goal.

“We want them to know that there is something after high school,” Byrd said. “Our goal is to see every senior receive an acceptance letter from a college, university or an institution or go into the military.”

In an effort to lead students in the right direction, Byrd has been encouraging registration for the ACT exam during the past week.

“I have made it a point to get every senior registered to take the ACT,” Byrd said. “We’ve been getting them registered this week and will do what it takes to get those students to the exam location. We’ll get as many buses as we need to get those students to the exam.”

Byrd is also hopeful that ECHS students who are accepted to colleges will be able to receive a scholarship to help with higher education costs.

“When a senior presents their acceptance letter, we want to be able to present that students with a community scholarship,” Byrd said. “The scholarships will be made available through community residents who contribute to the fund in honor or in memory of their loved ones. We’d like to be able to present those scholarships during the annual class night program to help students with moving expenses, books and other things required for college.”

Byrd said he knows that students need cheerleaders to help them be successful in their educational careers.

“We have to be the driving force for our students,” Byrd said. “When our students know that they have someone that is willing to support their future aspirations they will live up to their potential.”

Byrd said he knows the Atmore community will step up and take on the challenge of supporting and encouraging students to succeed.

“Atmore is special in that it has always supported the schools,” Byrd said. “As an educator, I believe the only thing successful sitting down is a hen. I am asking all stakeholders within this community to stand up when it involves our children’s education. We, at ECHS, need your help. I truly believe if our children view everyone in their environment encouraging them to attend a secondary institution, we all can make this happen. The community has put their trust in me as a leader, and now I am asking you to support my efforts to ensure all students succeed.”

Byrd hopes to create a display in the school’s main lobby to showcase letters of acceptance received by students. A special honor event will be held for students at the end of the school year, he said.

“An end of the year celebration will be given in the students’ honor off campus,” Byrd said. “But, students will have to work hard to be able to participate. Each senior will receive a checklist to complete throughout the year. The checklist has to be completed to receive full recognition.”

Excitement by Byrd and other staff members is growing and the rewards will be great for the student and the community.

“We are excited about this project,” Byrd said. “We cannot wait to give out the first prize.”