Cocke County School Board, Williamson discuss student D-Day program

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Members of the Cocke County School Board were brought up to date Thursday evening on the new Promise program recently approved by the Tennessee Legislature.

Under the program, funded with lottery money, high schoolers will be able to attend a community college or technical school free of tuition and frees, and with a mentor to assist them.

Valerie Fancher, of the Chamber of Commerce, said each student must have a mentor and maintain satisfactory acedemic progress, to continue to receive funding. In addition, each student must perform one day of community service each semester.

“Our students must be educated if we are to compete globally,” Fancher told the board.

A meeting will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 20 to provide more details on the program. The location has not been determined.

The school board also heard from Caley Williamson, a junior at Cosby High School, who is one of 15 student-teacher teams to be chosen internationally to visit Normandy, France this summer.

She and history teacher Hillary Griffin will spend a week in Washington, D.C. and then go to Normandy for another week, with the other students and teachers.

The program is a part of the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute, designed to promote the study of D-Day in World War II.

She will hear lectures, study World War II memorials and walk the beaches of Normandy.

Griffin encouraged Caley to apply for the program, which also includes students and teachers from South Korea.

The experience is laid out as a college class, and is aimed at portraying the experience of the soldiers who participated in D-Day.

One of the requirements is the research into the life of a soldier who died at Normandy and is buried at Normandy.

On her last day in France, Williamson will eulogize Private Easton Baxter, an 18-year-old Cosby farmer at the time he was drafted.

“It’s been really neat following his experience through research. Just two weeks ago we actually found a picture of him. It was a great milestone; I was so happy to see the face to the name we’ve been studying for so long,” she told the board.

Before becoming involved in the program, Caley said she hardly knew about World War II, and had never heard of D-Day. Now, however she has a better appreciation for the life of the soldier.

-By Ray Snader, Tribune Correspondent

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