Vernon Parish businesses "adopt" local schools

LEESVILLE, La. "I have a ton of pride, like I love this school," said Leesville High School student Thad Segura.

A senior whose middle name could be extracurricular.

"I'm school mascot, I'm involved in 4-H, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Hispanic Honor Society and I take duel enrollment courses with Northwestern," Segura said.

He says it's his school that has opened many doors over the last four years.

Doors that Vernon Parish's Partners in Education Program has helped to create.

"It's all based on what is best for the students," said Partners in Education Chair Charlotte Cooper.

It's a partnership that local businesses in Leesville are more than happy to support, pledging to spend at least $500 in money, gift cards or time to the schools.

Fort Polk Progress approached the Chamber of Commerce to help with their education initiative to enhance schools in the area.

The chamber then spearheaded the sponsorship program and a long list of businesses immediately signed up.

"It wasn't just for publicity, they really wanted to find a way to make our schools the best that they could be," said Chamber President Anne Causey.

Cooper said the partnership is a win win for both the schools and the community.

"It enhances the work of the school and gives businesses a recognition as well," Cooper said.

Barksdale Credit Union is the business that has chosen to adopt Leeseville High School.

"The elevated status of our education system here is a great opportunity for us to reward them for the hard work that they do each and every day," said Barksdale Credit Union's Leesville Manager Steve Woods.

Leesville's Principal Tammie Phillips said the Union is always willing to help.

"They help financially, if we need speakers in the classroom and if we need help with athletic events," said Phillips.

They even sponsor a student recognition program called "Student of the Six Weeks".

"They bring them cups, calendars or just something nice and they tell the kids what a wonderful job they are doing," Phillips said.

It's a recognition Segura was happy to receive which he said showed that his hard work was paying off.

"I felt honored, because it means that one of my teachers thought that I stood out above the rest," Segura said.

This is the third year Vernon Parish Schools have had the Partners in Education program.