July 29, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
Members of the community concerned about our school system answered the call to pray Sunday afternoon during what has become an annual event prior to the start of school.
This year’s prayer time called ” Back 2 School Call 2 Prayer” was held at DeKalb County High School. As in past years it featured several local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the school transportation staff, athletic activities and band program, law enforcement agencies, and the school board.
Iain Swisher, Pastor of the First Assembly of God, made welcoming remarks followed by Director of Schools Patrick Cripps, who spoke briefly about plans for the school year. Emily Phillips, Praise & worship leader at the Smithville Church of God sang the National Anthem.
In his remarks, Director Cripps said school system plans for the year include bringing 1 to 1 computer devices (Chrome Books) to every student from 6th-12th grade. “Starting this year our 6th through 12th grade students will each have a computer in their own hands throughout the schools. We’re also purchasing computers for our 3rd through 5th graders. While things like that (technology) have changed (over the years) there are certain things that have not changed. There were three things my parents instilled in me growing up and that is God, family, and education. There was no exception to those in my family. That is what you’re here for today and I hope that is something this community carries on. You’re showing today (by your presence) that you care about and love our kids and that you are here to support them,” said Director Cripps.
He also gave credit to teachers for recent local academic successes recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education.. “The state put out a top ten growth list, districts or individual grade levels that had the most growth in the state of Tennessee and our 6th through eighth grade ELA students and teachers made the top ten. In our high school, math students made the top ten as well. We are not going to settle for nothing but the best. We are going to keep striving forward no matter what challenges we have before us. Pray for us. Keep us in your prayers every day. Please pray for our schools, our teachers, our employees, bus drivers and everyone involved,” added Director Cripps.
Local ministers participating were:
*Alberto Lucio, pastor of the Iglesia Bethel Church (who prayed for DeKalb County High School)
*Michael Martin, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church (who prayed for DeKalb Middle School)
*Trent Colwell, pastor of the Smithville Church of the Nazarene (who prayed for Northside Elementary School)
*Graden Kirksey, pastor of Christpoint Smithville (who prayed for Smithville Elementary School)
*Josh Brown, pastor of Salem Baptist Church (who prayed for DeKalb West School)
* Jonathon Anderson, youth pastor of the Smithville Church of Christ (who prayed for School Transportation Staff)
*Bernard Houk, pastor of the Smithville Free Will Baptist Church (who prayed for the athletic department/band)
*Dwayne Cornelius, pastor of the New Life United Pentecostal Church (who prayed for the local law enforcement departments)
*Chad Ramsey, pastor of the Smithville First Baptist Church (who prayed for the School Board)
Instead of a closing prayer, everyone was encouraged to go to the school where their children or grandchildren attend to offer a prayer.