In the midst of this political season, I am struck by the tremendous amount of money being spent on two presidential campaigns and other federal, state and local campaigns. I believe this not only saddens me, but tens of millions of Americans. Viewing this tremendous amount of money being spent by so few people seeking political offices, I feel driven to write this letter.
Considering how most of the salaries for these political offices pale in comparison to the money spent to gain these offices, I truly believe that most Americans have taken off their blinders to realize just how much under-handedness and corruption exists in all levels of our government. Americans are no longer idealistic or faithful about our government officials being pure and willing to go all out to help each and every citizen regardless of our financial status. There can be no doubt that money buys access to government policies, and therefore, campaign contributions are, in actuality, investments in rich and powerful peoples’ futures!
Is there any wonder why so many voters don’t bother to vote? Are my views cynical or truth? Can American government, at all levels, be guilty of some of the biggest white collar crimes on earth?
Just some questions to ponder during this political season.
Timothy (Tim) Monroe Bledsoe
When I arrived at Fox Creek High School in June of 2006, I discovered hardworking parents and community leaders trying to build a school to provide a quality education for their children.
During a community interview, a group of parents asked me what size school would provide the optimal education for young people. ... I replied that I felt that approximately 600 students would give Fox Creek the resources it needs to be a comprehensive high school, but maintain its focus on the individual student.
Fox Creek High School set out to increase student enrollment to approximately 400 students for the 2012-2013 school year. I am proud to announce that on our first day of school, we accomplished that goal. Today, our school has attracted over 430 students. The freshman class is composed of the best and brightest students from Aiken and Edgefield counties.
This success is also due in large part to our school’s continual drive for excellence. This drive for excellence permeates our school culture. From the pioneering parents that started our school to the award-winning faculty that grace our hallways, everyone at Fox Creek continues to give their all.
I often tell our constituents that we are not running a high school, we are building one. This construction is multifaceted. It is not just a building, but an award- winning staff consisting of eight WJBF Golden Apple Award winners and two WRDW Time to Care award winners. Our academic programs have expanded to include a vast array of four- year college courses being taught on our campus during normal school hours free of charge to our students. These three credit hour Piedmont Technical College classes include English 101, English 102, Algebra 110, Trigonometry 111, Western Civilization to 1689 101, and Western Civilization 1689-Present 102.
This past May, I was blessed to be able to attract Williston-Elko High School’s 2012 Teacher of the Year to come to our school. As a result, we are now offering college Biology 101 and Biology 102. We already have in place a plan to expand our college course offerings next school year with the additions of American Literature 201, English Literature 205, Analytical Geometry/Calculus 140, Probability & Statistics 120, American History to 1877 201, and American History 1877-Present 202. All of these classes will transfer to any South Carolina public four-year university. That will bring our college course offerings School to 45 hours of college credit.
In addition, we have partnered with Aiken Technical College to offer certification programs in welding, HVAC and health sciences. Students will attend Fox Creek in the mornings and Aiken Technical College in the afternoons. These programs lead to certification in these fields upon graduation from Fox Creek. If these students choose to continue their studies at Aiken Technical College, they will only need one year of college to attain an associates degree in these fields.
I am often asked by the media to explain my educational philosophy. Early in my career, I felt that I had to share the latest educational catch phrase. I now understand that there is no magic program to make a school successful. The key to success is hiring the best teachers and support staff, putting them in classrooms with extremely small student-to-teacher ratios, supplying them with whatever materials they request, and giving them the freedom from supervision to teach our state standards in the manner they feel is best.
I am proud that our Fox Creek High School Board of Directors shares this educational philosophy and has allocated our school’s resources to ensure that we have a low student-to-teacher ratio of nearly 18:1. I feel that this is the primary reason for our unprecedented success.
I am also proud of our staff. I can say without reservation that Fox Creek High School has the finest employees of any school I have ever been associated with. I am also pleased that our teacher turnover rate is minuscule. All eight Teachers of the Year we have had still work at Fox Creek. Our administrative team has worked together for six years now. This long-lasting relationship has allowed our team to excel. We have been fortunate to add many new educators that bring with them a wealth of experience.
I strongly believe that the Merriwether community will see the next great economic growth in our area. The North Augusta community is growing and is heading toward Merriwether. Fox Creek High School now provides these new residents a local option for a quality public education. I feel that Fox Creek High School has been and will continue to be instrumental in the growth of the Merriwether community.
New residential communities are sprouting up regularly in Merriwether. Now that North Augusta and Midland Valley residents can attend Fox Creek, a bridging of these communities will continue to take place. I have lived in many parts of our state, but the North Augusta and Merriwether communities are by far the best communities in our state.
I commend the many parents and board members that have worked countless hours over the past nine years to build Fox Creek into the success that it has become. Let’s continue to come together and work hard for our communities, for together we are Fox Creek.
Timothy L. Murph, Ed.D.
Principal of Fox Creek High School