Thomasville Times Enterprise

March 27, 2014

Open house

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — The new career-science wing at Thomas County Middle School is fully operational, and a special open house is set for 2:30 p.m.-4:30 Sunday.

During the event, citizens will have an the opportunity to tour the new facility and to discover its possibilities. The new laboratory spaces provide learning opportunities that are unique for middle school students in the region.

Beth Adams, Director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, is excited about what the new annex means for students.

“The addition of the programs in the Career-Science Annex and the remodeling of the broadcasting lab has provided a way for students to expand their opportunities for career exploration,” Adams said.

“Our goal is to help students broaden their career interests and see the connection between their academic courses and the world around them. These Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) courses will help students as they work to focus on their interests and talents to create their graduation plans and set career goals. One of the most important aspects of a successful CTAE program is the instructors, and I believe we have outstanding educators working with our students in a facility that supports student growth and achievement,” Adams explained.

Two fully equipped science labs include water and gas connections and a fume hood, allowing middle school students to complete sophisticated science experiments.

Said Superintendent Dr. Dusty Kornegay, “The new science labs open doors for students who are interested in advanced academics to gain valuable research skills while still in middle school. A growing number of TCMS students are earning high school science credit in eighth grade, and these new labs ensure that students have the full high school lab experience.”

The new labs are being dedicated to the memory of longtime Thomas County science educator Jackie Winchester, who taught in the Thomas County School System for 44 years. Winchester died in 2009.

“(Mrs.) Winchester taught me in sixth grade, and she helped inspire me to become an educator. I am glad that we are able to honor her in this special way,” Kornegay said.

The new wing also includes an expansive agricultural education suite that features a spacious classroom, a full lab, a shop area, a covered outdoor patio and a fully operational greenhouse. The middle school agriculture lab has been described as one of the finest middle school agriculture labs in the state.

The new family and consumer science lab features three full kitchens, a classroom area and a computer center. The new business education lab is equipped with new computers and interactive presentation technology.

A multipurpose room provides space for special school programs, including Odyssey of the Mind and Science Olympiad, which require space for building things and conducting experiments. The room shares the covered outdoor patio with the agriculture lab.

Newly renovated space in the main building provides state-of-the-art facilities for video broadcasting and robotics, including a television studio area, a control room, editing bays and a robotics classroom.

Two existing classrooms near the gym will be fully renovated this summer to provide a dance studio for the middle school’s dance program launched this year.

With the additions and renovations, Thomas County Middle School will feature modern facilities for academics, the fine arts — band, chorus, visual arts and dance — and CTAE.

Thomas County Middle School Principal Dr. Kathy Keown encourages the community to see what the middle school has to offer.

“The new annex has been a wonderful addition to the Thomas County Middle School campus,” Keown said. “We have been able to add classes in agriculture, family/consumer science, technology and business that previously were unavailable or not fully operational. Many of these courses will lead our middle school students to even greater opportunities in their high school careers. With limited space in our classrooms, the two new science labs provide our science teachers and their students the perfect place to carry out lab work and experiments. We are excited about the open house this Sunday afternoon and are looking forward to showing off this new building.”