Governor Asa Hutchinson arrived at Heber Springs High School at around 1:00 P.M. on Thursday. Hutchinson has been the 46th Governor of Arkansas since 2015. He previously was Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration and served as the First Undersecretary of The Department of Homeland Security. He was also elected to Congress three times. One of his campaign initiatives was to require computer coding classes in every public high school in the state to prepare students for the 21st-century economy.
At the High School Hutchinson visited two separate classrooms, both Computer Science classes teaching coding. Coding is a system of signals used to represent letters or numbers in transmitting messages. Instructions written by a computer programmer are referred to as code. It makes creating computer software, apps, and websites possible.
After the classroom visits, District Superintendent Alan Stauffacher introduced Hutchinson who spoke at the Performing arts Center where the student body had assembled. The focus of his speech to the students was the benefits of technology-related jobs. He said Arkansas is leading the nation in the development of jobs that use technology and the opportunities are unlimited in this field. A short video about coding and the benefits of being in the IT (Information technology) field was played for the students followed by additional remarks from Hutchinson about the advantages of a career in coding and tech-related jobs. Hutchinson told the students "There will be 1 million unfilled jobs in the tech field over the next five years."
Hutchinson next visited the Community School of Cleburne County, a school that provides assistance to developmentally delayed infants, children, and adults. Terri Renner led Hutchinson on a tour of the facility that has an enrollment of 128 children. The Community School also owns three waiver homes for developmentally delayed adults. The facility employees one hundred and twenty-eight people but only sixty staff the building the remaining employees are part of the Waiver program. The school has been in operation for more than thirty years and provides services at no cost to those with disabilities not only in Cleburne County but also, White, Stone, Faulkner and Independence Counties.
Hutchinson then assisted in awarding Single Parent Scholarships at the Lattimer Center, read the article about the SPSF in this edition of The Sun Times.
The Call, an organization dedicated to bringing the church, foster families and adoptive families together was the Governors next stop. Arkansas Department of Human Services statistics shows that at the end of 2017 there were 5113 children in foster care which was a slight increase over the previous quarter. 916 adoptions were also finalized during 2017. Governor Hutchinson was impressed with the work of the CALL. You can see his words and their discussion on The Sun Times Facebook page.Those present to meet with the Governor were Johnnelle Switzer, Miranda Monroe and Bill Stoecker of DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services), Ashley Herring, Amanda Bush, Carmen George, Valerie Griesse, Katie Holmes and Kristie McClung of The CALL, Yyuvone Heidelberger, North Central Regional Coordinator of The CALL and JoJo Riggs, Pastor, Foster Dad and Adoptive Dad.
The Governor’s visit was concluded with him being the guest speaker at the Feed a Senior Fish Fry Fundraiser at the Heber Springs Community Center.