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Natchez Early College Academy classrooms nearly complete

NATCHEZ — Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Natchez Adams School District had a change of setting as the district celebrates the near completion of new modular classrooms for Natchez Early College Academy students on Copiah Lincoln Community College’s campus.

District Superintendent Fred Butcher said the four new buildings were meant to be finished in November but were completed a little behind schedule because of weather delays and should have an official opening “very soon.”

Board members gathered in a brand new multi-purpose room in one of the modular buildings on Co-Lin’s campus for Tuesday’s meeting and gave special recognition to students and faculty for improving test scores.

The board also congratulated McLaurin Elementary School, Robert Lewis Magnet School and Frazier Elementary for being awarded grants from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi.

Both Robert Lewis Magnet School and Frazier Elementary received $5,000 grants from Blue Cross while McLaurin received $50,000 and top honors in the state from Blue Cross’s Healthy School Awards program.

Brad Yarbrough, owner of Natchez Ford, and Fallin Career and Technology Center Principal Cleveland Moore asked the board to approve a partnership with Natchez Ford to provide a scholarship program to 12th-grade students who study to be certified Ford technicians and the board granted their request unanimously.

“We are looking for some great technicians and there is a serious lack of trained technicians in the Miss-Lou,” Yarbrough said.

Natchez Ford would reimburse students for tuition who complete semesters at Delgado Community College in New Orleans with a minimum 2.0 grade-point-average and graduate with an associate’s degree and Ford technician certification, Yarbrough said.

Ford technicians at Natchez Ford have a starting pay at $19 per hour, Yarbrough said, adding top mechanics with as little as five years of experience after training could make between $80,000 to $100,000 each year.

“I’ve got technicians right here at Natchez Ford that make that kind of money,” Yarbrough said. “… I’m looking for people who have a strong interest in working on cars,” Yarbrough said. “… My idea is to flood the market with highly skilled technicians.”

Moore said students who are interested in the program would be able to talk to their college and career advisor at Fallin.