When 15 year Ty’Sheoma Bethea, formerly a student in Dillon, South Carolina, wrote to President Obama about the condition of her school, It set off a chain of events that led, last Friday, to a celebration in Dillon marking the unveiling of plans for a new J.V. Martin Junior High School. A combination of loans and grants from USDA Rural Development will enable the district to replace the old school.
It was my privilege to accompany Vernita F. Dore, Rural Development State Director for South Carolina to the celebration. In her remarks she said, “This is a wonderful day in Dillon, South Carolina. This is a wonderful day all across America.” Looking directly at Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the student who wrote to President Obama concerning the conditions at her school, Dore said, “When you wrote your letter to the President, you were fired up. When the President read your letter, he was fired up, and Rural Development, Dillon County, Darryl Rosser, and people all across America were fired up about education in Dillon, South Carolina, and that’s why we are here today. We’re all fired up!” The crowd erupted in applause.
Dore went on to say, “The Recovery Act signed by President Obama more than a year ago made this funding possible and demonstrates the Obama Administration’s goal to create jobs and improve education for rural America. Because of the stimulus money, Rural Development was able to provide $39.5 million for Dillon County Schools.”
Among those on hand were Mr. Rosser, CEO of the Chicago-based classroom furniture supplier that provided the furniture to give the school a makeover last year, and Dillon County School Board Chairman Richard Schafer.
Former Dillon School student Ty'Sheoma Bethea, (L) who wrote a letter about the condition of her school to President Obama, stands with Rural Development South Carolina State Director Vernita Dore next to a drawing of a new school building funded with Recovery Act loan and grant funds provided through USDA.
Left to right: Darryl Rosser, CEO of the Chicago furniture company that supplied new furniture for the J.V. Martin Junior High School, Dillon County school board chairman Richard Schafer and Ty'Sheoma Bethea unveil plans for the new school funded by USDA Rural Development.
Written by Marlous H. Black
USDA Rural Development-South Carolina