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SERC hears HVA
HVA seeks workplace mentors for senior students

Hardin Valley Academy principal Sallee Reynolds, center, gives Carla Lyle, left, and SERC committee chair Margaret Johns a walking tour of HVA.- Ashley Peterson/farragutpress
Town-chartered School Education Relations Committee members were advised of Hardin Valley Academy’s volunteer needs for workplace mentorships at its meeting Wednesday, Feb. 3, at HVA.

HVA principal Sallee Reynolds hosted the meeting and gave all four of the school’s deans a chance to share their specific needs for mentorship opportunities.

HVA students have a choice to be involved in a service-intense, career-driven program, providing a platform for them to excel in high school and in their adult life. They can receive one of four academy endorsements: liberal arts; health and science; business, law and public affairs; or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Every student chooses one of the four programs, but does not have to work toward receiving an endorsement.

HVA needs businesses to accept its student interns, advocating the asset to the business as well as giving back in the life of a student. “The students work for free,” Reynolds said.

Debbie Sayers, STEM dean, she said, “The bulk of the work is on the student, not the business. Students know this is a big opportunity and they can’t blow it off.”

David Combs, liberal arts dean, said, “The economy crippled us. Businesses had to let people go.”

Combs has a Jewish student interning at East Tennessee Historical Society. The intern was given her own exhibit, “Bagels and Barbeque.”

Another HVA student is working alongside UT Lady Vols backetball players, going to games and being a part of event planning.

In total, for fall and spring semesters, about 80 students needed to be placed.

One academy dean said she has received 80 applications for next fall in her one department.

In other matters, Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer said, “OK” to the committee for grounds help – light landscaping and landscaping recommendations, while serving as Interim Town Administrator.

“Bud McKelvey [Town Public Works Director] has been so great helping us. We really appreciate Bud McKelvey,” Farragut Intermediate School principal Kay Wellons said.

In a previous committee story, Farragut Intermediate and Primary school principals addressed needs for rubber mulch and volunteers such as McKelvey to spread it and help with general groundskeeping.

Farragut Middle School principal Heather Karnes brought the shared “falling apart” FIS and FMS sign into conversation. “We’ve had it repaired, repaired, repaired. It needs to be replaced,” she said.

Committee member Shannon Warden later said there’s always going to be something that comes up. “We have to prioritize.”

Committee member Carla Lyle shared more information about grant programs.

“For grants involving $10,000 or greater, you have to go through Knox County Schools. However, under $10,000, that can be filtered through individual schools. But how do you find out what grants are out there?” Lyle said.

As far as the committee found out, there isn’t one Web site, list, group or person that knows all the grants currently available, making it a problem for the committee to utilize current funds.

In addition to researchers, Warden said, “We need grant writers.”

Knox County has one grant writer for all Knox County Schools, Reynolds said.

Lyle added she is waiting on an updated Partners in Education list from Scott Bacon with Knox County Schools.

Committee member Heather Marshall discussed a paper-drive for Farragut area schools, perhaps with Office Max in Turkey Creek.

Palmer suggested it may be better for Town Hall to be a drop-off location for donated school supplies.

“Office Max wants to sell paper and the schools need it,” Marshall said.

Palmer said he would “look into” the paper-drive idea with Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

After the meeting, Reynolds gave Johns and Lyle a tour of HVA.

An interim SERC meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, at Town Hall.


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