Perry mayor speaks to middle school students

February 12, 2014 

Perry Mayor Jimmy Faircloth talks to Bonaire Middle School sixth-graders Feb. 5.

MICHAEL W. PANNELL — Special to The Sun News

BONAIRE -- Sixth-graders at Bonaire Middle School got a lesson on business, government and leadership -- and the importance of a good education -- from one of Middle Georgia’s top leaders last week: Perry Mayor Jimmy Faircloth.

Faircloth spoke to two family and consumer sciences classes taught by Alice Mullis and met with officers of the school’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America group, which Mullis sponsors.

While at the school, Faircloth signed a proclamation extolling the virtues of FCCLA and recognizing this week as National FCCLA Week.

Faircloth’s theme throughout his interactive talks with the students was the practical way their education will shape their future.

“What you do now affects you future,” he told the classes. “If you pass up opportunities to learn now, you may be passing up opportunities to do what you want to do in the future.”

Faircloth spent most of the class time talking with students versus lecturing and asked them questions as well as answering theirs.

In the lively give and take, Faircloth was prompted to ask students questions like if they knew how someone got to be a mayor? Why water tanks were built so high up in the air? Who tells firefighters and police officers where to go and what to do? And more.

In turn, students asked Faircloth questions such as: How long does he get to be mayor? How much does he get paid? Does the city really give out keys to the city? And does he have a pet?

With each topic, Faircloth tied questions and answers to the fact people are always needed who have particular knowledge and particular skills to fill particular needs and accomplish particular tasks in life.

“It’s always a lot of fun talking with the kids,” Faircloth said. “I’ve been here to talk to them for three years now, and it’s always interesting and a lot of fun.”

Faircloth, who just entered his second term as mayor, is interim assistant vice president for economic development and special projects manager at Central Georgia Technical College. He has previously worked in business roles such as comptroller and human resources director and as chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Two of Bonaire’s FCCLA officers who heard Faircloth in previous years had positive comments about his presentations.

Makaela Fitzwater, who is a FCCLA state representative, said she wanted to work in public relations and found it rewarding hearing from someone holding high public office such as Faircloth. She said she remembers Faircloth encouraging her class to look forward to the future and keep up their education.

Dylan Rigney, FCCLA president at Bonaire Middle, said he’s interested in politics and gained a lot of understanding hearing Faircloth. He said he remembers being encouraged to aim at his target and never give up.

Bonaire’s FCCLA is a fairly new club at the school but last year won the organization’s National Career Connections Award. FCCLA is a national nonprofit organization for students geared toward helping them assume their roles in society through family and consumer sciences education and through areas of personal growth, family life, vocational preparation and community involvement.

Continuing a focus on careers and the importance of a good education, Friday is career day at Bonaire Middle. Employers from Middle Georgia and across the state will be at the school representing a variety of career fields to help students learn of vocational possibilities and what it may take to achieve them.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at

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