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State Rep. Wood, Senator Price give grants to local schools

On Wednesday, State Representative Debbie Wood and State Senator Randy Price traveled throughout Chambers County, delivering grant money to help local schools fund their individual projects or needs.

“It was just a great day. If our job just consisted of that, then everybody would sign up. It was just the best day ever,” Wood said. “Every year, we are awarded some grant money that we can bring back to our community. The district that I have has 17 schools, and I have to divide that money across the schools that have the most needs. I try to listen to what their needs are.”

Overall, the pair gave more than $34,000 to schools located in Chambers County.

One of the largest donations was to Bob Harding Shawmut Elementary School. The project it has been working to fund is a covered walkway so students will have one protection from the weather when walking to the gym.

“If it is raining, they have to walk uncovered from the school to the gym,” Wood said. “Senator Price and I feel like it is a priority project, and we pulled our money together to get them a $15,000 grant. With the help of the new superintendent, I think we’re going to get that walkway covered for those little bodies. We’re extremely excited about that.”

Some of the schools knew Price and Wood were visiting to donate money to the school, while some were unaware.

W.F. Burns Middle School Principal Chad Smith was one that was unaware of the incoming visit. Since the money is in the form of a general grant, Smith said that he wanted to use the money to benefit his teachers and staff.

“He said his teachers have gone through so many emotions with COVID, from them having to come up with online teaching instructions and coming up with lessons for students that did not have services to be able to do online and working with in-classroom students as well,” Wood said. “They have had a huge tremendous load dropped on them with COVID. He said he was going to take that money and do something for the teachers and staff, which really touched us and warmed our hearts. We know that our teachers have been overburdened throughout all of this.”

Along with visiting Chambers County School District schools, Price and Wood also visited the Lanett City School Central Office.

Overall, Wood and Price visited more than six schools in Chambers County.

“Anytime anyone is making a donation, we’re very excited about that,” Lanett City Schools Superintendent Jennifer Boyd said. “We’re excited to see support from our stakeholders, our legislatures — support that is going to benefit our students.

Price and Wood both wanted to put an emphasis on the band programs, so a portion of the donation will go toward the bands of the CCSD and LCS.

“I think oftentimes, the emphasis is put on athletics programs, and I think that’s great because you have so many different programs, but band is also extremely important in having those great Friday night lights,” Wood said.

Wood said that she and Price will visit schools in Lee County in the next few weeks delivering grant money to those schools as well.

“It’s just an awesome feeling making a difference in our community,” Wood said.