JASPER — The Hamilton County School Board is looking to bring hope to its alternative school.

At the board’s July 15 meeting, it approved renaming the Hamilton County Alternative School. The new name will be Hamilton Hope Academy.

The board decided to rename the school with the hope of removing the stigma of negativity off the purpose of the school by focusing on the positive goals the students can achieve or hope to achieve by attending.

During the discussion, the board also plans to implement a dress code at the Hope Academy and, pending research on the topic, implementing an incentive program for students that reach and surpass goals.

The board further discussed the Hope Academy at a meeting Tuesday.

During the meeting, the board also recognized the Hamilton County Development Authority as its Business Partner of the Year.

Bryan Zecher made a presentation to the board about the “Build My Future” event held in Columbia County for high school students. This year’s event will be Oct. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fairgrounds in Lake City.

Zecher told the board that several Hamilton County students attended last year’s event and enjoyed themselves. So, he is trying to increase the outreach of the event into Hamilton, Suwannee, Baker and Union counties.

During the event, Zecher said students will learn about different roles in construction careers from plumbing to electrical to engineering.

Organizers also have scholarships available, with one $500 award going to a HCHS student last year, Zecher said.

Superintendent Rex Mitchell discussed the district’s School Grades with the board. The grades recently released by the Florida Department of Education had the district as well as both Hamilton County Elementary and Hamilton County High receiving Cs for the second straight year.

Mitchell said they will be posting a quote on the schools’ sign that reads “Do you Believe?” in reference to the district’s goal of achieving a B next year.

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