Jefferson honored by the governor
By By SARAH HODGES Staff Writer
The Beaufort County Board of Education members honored their past as they opened a new chapter during Monday night's regular monthly meeting.
William Warren, the newly elected board member representing District 4, was sworn in by Lori Chrismon of the Beaufort County Clerk of Court's Office. Warren narrowly defeated opponent James Pressley in the March 4 special election.
Warren filled the seat vacated by veteran board member Billy Jefferson -- who had held the position since it was vacated by Warren's father in 1972.
Retired state Rep. Zeno Edwards Jr. of Washington -- longtime friend of Jefferson and former member of the Beaufort County Board of Education -- surprised Jefferson Monday night by presenting him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The award, which was presented on behalf of Gov. Mike Easley, is the highest recognition a civilian can attain in North Carolina.
As Edwards began the presentation, he offered a few words to the board's newest member.
Edwards described Jefferson as a rare man who became involved in his community for one reason: "Solely wondering how he could help," Edwards said.
A surprised Jefferson thanked each member of the board, and Superintendent Anthony Parker, for what they had contributed to his tenure on the board.
Security was the focus of much of the meeting. At Parker's request, the board approved a motion to begin the process of seeking the lowest bid to place security cameras at Washington High School.
No action was taken during the discussion of a security presentation several board members had attended recently in Raleigh. Parker introduced the idea of bringing in security experts, such as those who made the Raleigh presentation, to conduct a security audit of all Beaufort County schools. Parker said grant monies recently allotted states by the Department of Homeland Security may be available for such projects.
According to Parker, the security audit -- which possibly would cost more than $7,500 -- would be a more productive use of energy than spending money for equipment without properly addressing the needs.
Board member Bryant Hardison echoed Parker's enthusiasm regarding the project. Hardison noted that many of the security issues addressed Monday night had taken on new significance in the aftermath of the Columbine (Colo.) High School tragedy in 1999.
If approved by the board members, the security audit possibly could be included in the budget for the next fiscal year.
Parker also announced Monday that 65 video cameras have been purchased to be mounted on Beaufort County school buses. The superintendent said the cameras were "not a total answer (to curbing violence) but a tool to keep our campuses safer."
In other business, three Beaufort County Schools employees were recognized for completing their Journeyperson Certifications through the North Carolina Department of Labor. Those staff members were Evian Garner of Aurora Middle School, Nina DeJong of Bath Elementary School and Juanita Fritzler of Northeast Elementary Schoool.
The Clean Schools Award was presented to Chocowinity Primary School's head custodian Samuel Boyd and staff members Henry O'Neal and Shirley Overton.
The Character Education trait recognized for the month of March was cleanliness. Gregory Moore, Jr. -- a fifth-grader at John Small Elementary School, Tyler Cahoon -- an eighth-grader at Northeast Elementary School and Darnell Ross -- a ninth-grader at Washington High School, were recognized as winners for the month from their respective age groups.
Retired educator Myrtle Carawan was reappointed as the board of education's representative to the Beaufort Community College Board of Trustees.