A legacy you can see for miles

Published 3:23 pm Friday, June 1, 2012

Good or bad, one of the last things we leave behind as we depart this Earth is a legacy.

I’ve never seen Babe Ruth play baseball but I know his legacy well.

In many cases, your legacy lives a longer and more vibrant life than you do.

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You can try to establish your own legacy by setting out a clear set of goals. For example, when my expiration date comes I hope I am remembered as a good father, a good son, a hard worker and someone who tried to run a good small-town newspaper. My legacy will dictate whether or not I was successful in any of that. All I can do is try.

Wednesday, I was fortunate to attend a meeting that could set into motion a viable and strong technical and trade school in Demopolis. In short, the city needs a strong and willing two year partner to fully maximize the potential there.

Shelton State makes the most sense for a litany of reasons; the sheer volume of local students who seek enrollment there and their already strong relationship with existing parter UWA being two easy ones.

The lone stumbling block in the way of rolling this project out is, Demopolis is not in Shelton State’s footprint. Demopolis lies in the space occupied by Alabama Southern Community College. The relationship between our city and Alabama Southern has been tested and it failed. Point fingers in whatever direction you like. It failed. That’s all that matters. The legacy of that relationship is that it got ugly and had to end.

That brings us to Dr. Susan Price. Price serves as Interim Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. She’s a powerful voice in her field. She’s a voice that, if she would vocally stand behind the effort, could rewrite the future of countless people in the entire region.

Price, who was officially named interim chancellor in March, is a woman in the process of writing her legacy. For sure she’s at the pinnacle of her career field. She’s among the chief decision-makers for the two year college system. The decisions she makes in her tenure will determine her legacy.

Her position in this situation is an uncomfortable one. Demopolis has been assigned a partner in Alabama Southern that historically hasn’t worked. And it’s a partner the city is ready to move on from. They have found a new partner in Shelton State that brings as much to the table as could reasonably be expected.

Their are boards that will have to be approached and approvals that will have to be made but if Dr. Price is in our corner, those hurdles become a lot shorter.

Dr. Price can effectively kick open the doors at the Marengo County Career and Technical Center – or whatever they elect to call it – by simply starting and seeing through the effort to assign Shelton State as the city’s partner. The overall process is not that simple but the steps that get us there are. She will find multiple willing partners along the way.

Dr. Price’s legacy could easily be, “the woman who helped jump-start the Go Build Alabama campaign in Alabama’s Black Belt.” There stands ready an army of people eager to make that happen. One of the mottos of the “Go Build” campaign is “Build a legacy you can see from a mile away.”

Dr. Price, this is your chance. Build yourself a legacy that you can see from a mile away by letting our local students, our under-employed and unemployed build their own legacy through the trade and technical training that you helped make possible.