Creating a relationship between the community and schools was the focus of the first Edgefield County Education Summit.
More than 150 people representing different entities of the community met Saturday at Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton Middle School to discuss how they can turn the philosophy of "it takes a village to raise a child" into action.
"We created this summit to try to engage every important organization or agency to assist in the positive development of children," Dr. Frank Roberson, the associate superintendent of Edgefield County schools, said.
"Parenting is a tough thing and we want to help you out," he told the audience.
Dr. Roberson said he believes that one key ingredient to building the bond between the community and the schools is the local churches.
"The churches will be going out and doing surveys to find out which families need help. They will be the link," he said.
One of the speakers for the summit, Errol Thomas, of Choices Ltd., asked parents and the community to step up and get involved in a child's life by acting as mentors.
"Whatever good or bad you are today, somebody influenced you," he said. "The community and parents need to become more involved and be an influence in someone else's life - just let it be good."
Stacey Salley, an eighth-grade teacher, said the summit is the first step in building the relationship between the community and the school system.
"I feel strongly that if we all come together in the community that we can develop solutions to help assist our children in their academic achievement," she said.
"Every person must tell somebody about what we are trying to do here."
Despite nearly every seat being filled at the forum, Tracy Hamilton, of Edgefield, said that more parents should have attended.
"It should have been standing room only in here. This happens only once a year. If you are a concerned parent, you would make the sacrifice to be here," she said.
Ms. Hamilton also said that parents should become more involved in the classrooms and the school system.
"Teachers are a vital part of our society, and we have to work with them," she said.
Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.