Retired Army Maj. Gen. James Donald, now a fulltime St. George Island resident, spoke in full uniform to an excited and awestruck group of third grade students at the Franklin County School two weeks ago.

Donald began by teaching the students parade rest, attention, and present arms (salute) and then challenged one of the students to join him in pushups. He shared his story on how getting an education opened the path to a successful career in the military and as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections. He emphasized the importance of reading and getting a high school diploma.

He asked the students what career they wanted to pursue. Some students want to go into the Army or Marines, nursing, teaching, deputy sheriff. Donald encouraged the students to follow their dreams, reminding them that an education will be the key to their success. The general spoke as part of a program to introduce the students to different career opportunities, such as military, air traffic controller, electrician, contractor and opportunities in the seafood industry.

The St. George Island United Methodist Church partners with the Franklin County School in support of the faculty, staff and students by working with the third-grade. The partnership is built around the classroom needs and vision of the third-grade teachers, Ms. Millender, Ms. Carino, Ms. Keuchel and Ms. Brush, and provides appropriate books for the classroom, volunteers to read and assist students who may need extra help with their reading skills, monthly cookies and crafts, and volunteers to speak to students about their careers.

With the community partnering with our schools we can and will make our schools in Franklin County A schools, and the church encourages other organizations to support and partner with our schools.