During a trip through Southeast Georgia on Wednesday, Governor Brian Kemp and his wife Marty made a stop at Vidalia High School. Kemp, who had been in Appling County for a groundbreaking ceremony, was welcomed by Vidalia High School Principal John Sharpe, who spoke to the Governor about how VHS was dealing with the current pandemic. Sharpe also shared some student achievements and the graduation rate increase over the past several years.
Kemp then surprised Mrs. Joy Collins Honors Government Class in the auditorium, encouraging them to stay focused and positive during these times “I want to thank you for what you are doing. I know this has been a very challenging time for the young people in our state, and I know many students missed out on a lot of events that they were looking forward to because of the pandemic. But I want you to know that we are doing everything we can to fight this, but right now we want to make sure we do everything we can celebrate the great accomplishments that you are achieving right here in Vidalia and what you are going to do in the future for our state.”
Kemp also encouraged the students to think about staying in Georgia when they graduate, saying that Georgia is a great place to be. “There are so many opportunities in the great state of Georgia, and here in Southeast Georgia, and I want to encourage you to consider staying in Georgia to raise your family. Also, I want you to know we are working very hard to make sure you have more opportunities.”
Sharpe, who was able to take the Governor on a brief tour of the school, including the band room, said that he appreciated the Governor taking time out of his schedule to stop in “It was an honor to host Governor Kemp and the First Lady. They were very complimentary about our efforts to try and protect our students, teachers, and staff. I also appreciate him taking the time to speak to one of our classes, really meant a lot to the students. Finally many thanks to our State Senator Blake Tillery who was very instrumental in getting this visit to take place”
Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox who introduced the Governor to the students echoed Sharpe’s sentiments, “What a great opportunity for the school system to host and entertain the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp and his wife, Marty. Mr. Sharpe had the opportunity to share the provisions that the students and staff at VHS are following to provide the safest environment possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also great that Governor Kemp made time to engage and speak to one of our government classes in the auditorium. It was a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to host the Governor and his staff at VHS.”
Tillery a 2002 graduate of VHS and currently the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he was touched by the way Kemp related to the students “it’s always an honor to showcase the work of educators and administrators to keep our students safe. I was most touched by the Governor’s personal comments to students, recognizing many lost opportunities and extracurricular endeavors they’d look forward to achieve. He might be their Governor, but in that period of time, they realized he is just a human like them too.”