New Fayette-Ware principal addresses Chamber
New Fayette-Ware High School Principal Dr. Walter Owens noted last week that despite having “lots to work on,” the school is making “strides in the right direction.”
Owens was recently the guest speaker at the monthly luncheon hosted by the Oakland Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Owens, who previously helmed West Junior High School, Oakland Elementary and Jefferson Elementary, spoke about recent progress the school has made in fine arts, athletics and educational programs. He also addressed how he is fighting to change the perception of Fayette-Ware within the community.
Fine Arts: Owens told those in attendance that the school band has been invited to perform in the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. next May.
“However,” he continued, “there is one small problem. It costs about $35,000. Hopefully we can find a way for our band to represent Fayette County.”
Owens also noted that the band won numerous awards last year.
Athletics: After losing 52 consecutive football games in recent years, Owens said the Wildcats are primed to get back to the winning ways the school experienced in the mid-2000s.
Under the guidance of new Head Football Coach Randy Griffith, Owens said the program is “going in the right direction.”
Owens noted that the team recently won 4-of-6 scrimmage games and that Griffith has been working with more than 20 students throughout the summer.
The Wildcats will begin their season on the road against Lausanne on Aug. 22.
“We’ve got some athletes of our own and hope to hold our own,” he said. “A unified football team will help unite the school.”
The first home game is Aug. 29 against Jackson Central Merry.
Perception: Owens said that around “80 percent” of what people hear about the school isn’t true.
“Everybody blames the high school,” he said. “I did when I was at West. When I got here I came to realize that the people I had at West, or Oakland Elementary, were the same type of people at Fayette-Ware.
“They give their time, energy and hearts every day,” he continued, “to give a group of young people the opportunity to achieve the best education we can give to them.
“Is it as good as I’d like for it to be? No,” he said. “Because it is never good enough.”
Regarding fights, Owens said that students fight at school for two reasons — “to be seen and because they know it is safe.”
“They know it will be broken up in less than 30 seconds,” he elaborated. “We handle our business. We take care of ourselves.”
Owens further said that some parents ask if he can guarantee that their child will not get involved in a fight.
“I tell them,” he said, “I can’t guarantee that your child won’t start a fight. These are humans that we are talking about.”
Teachers: “I’m certified in five states,” Owens said. “Some of the best teachers I’ve ever worked with are at Fayette-Ware.
“Do we lose good teachers?” he continued. “Absolutely. I just lost three great teachers because they can walk across the (county) line and make more money. We have to begin looking at our children as priceless individuals. These teachers deserve your support.”
Involvement: “Just think if we stopped all the negativity and came out and supported our school 100 percent,” Owens said in closing. “We don’t always make the scores. But it is not because we’re not trying. We just need some help.”
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