By Rance Collins / The Daily Siftings Herald
Arkadelphia, Ark. — Making a special appearance at the Arkadelphia Promise event was Gov. Mike Beebe, who said he was proud of the efforts of the people of Arkadelphia.
“Today there are all sorts of people who can say for the first time: my child, my grandchild, can go to college,” said Beebe. “The obstacles have been knocked down, thanks to the Ross Foundation and Southern Bancorp.
Beebe said the two most common reasons that students are not able to complete college degrees is because either the students are not prepared, or they run out of money.
Beebe said that Arkadelphia has taken care of the preparedness part of the problem with programs such as the College Preparatory Academy, which recently tripled its enrollment, and an array of AP classes.
“Now, the financial problem is being overcome, there are no excuses not to go to college and not to succeed in college,” Beebe said.
According to Beebe, Arkansas has recently risen to number 10 in the country in public education, after notoriously placing near the bottom of list for years in educational categories. He credits the efforts of school districts such as Arkadelphia in assisting in the trend.
He also spoke of how impressive it is that Arkadelphia is only the fourth school in the country to offer a program like the Arkadelphia Promise Scholarship to their students. According to Dr. Wesley Kluck, similar programs have been implemented in Kalamazoo, Mich., Pittsburg, Penn., and El Dorado.
The Promise came about as part of the Clark County Strategic Plan, a plan put in place to help foster growth in the county. Beebe spoke highly of the county’s initiative, ending his speech with praise for the Clark County and Arkadelphia.
“You are on your way,” said Beebe. “I’m proud of Arkadelphia and keep it up.”