Seneca Rogers was taken aback when he heard people at a 2018 Board of Education meeting say they didn’t want “these kids” at their schools, in reference to students at Cummings High School, the school Rogers himself attended. Because of this, and the fact that he feels like not a lot of people are stepping up for the kids, Rogers decided to run for Alamance County’s Board of Education.
“When I was in high school at Cummings, people always tried to associate us with, ‘Oh, those are the kids from Cummings, they're just good at sports, but they don't care about school. They're just always trying to cause trouble out in the community,’” Rogers said. “For a lot of us, that was not the case at all.”
Rogers said it’s the same for a lot of students today as well. He said there are a lot of students who don’t have support from parents or have parents who are too busy working to make ends meet to be able to show up and go to board meetings. It is those kids that Rogers said he is running to represent.
“Nobody cares about what is happening with us, with our kids,” Rogers said. “They don't care about the fact that we possibly don't have the same access and resources that some of these other schools seem like they're always getting.”
If elected, as a part of representing students who Rogers feels are sometimes overlooked, one of his priorities is to set an environment where teaching and learning is the focus and students are prepared for different pathways for success, not just traditional universities.
“I would love to continue to bring up the fact that we need more financial literacy in our schools,” Rogers said. “I'm looking at ways I see where Hoke County schools are offering, like for students who want to become barbers, a chance to go to a barber school or become cosmetologist, and starting out with that in high school.”
Rogers hopes to also expand college and university partnerships in Alamance County. He said the county already has a partnership with both Elon University and Alamance Community College, but he would like to see more partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities, as this is one way to increase the diversity of teachers within Alamance County schools.
Rogers also recognizes how important it is to retain the teachers that Alamance County currently has, as he said many teachers are moving to different counties where they are paid or feel like they are valued more. Rogers also said there is currently one guidance counselor in Alamance County for close to every 440 students, making it a priority for him to increase support for mental health professionals.
As an Alamance County native who understands how the Board of Education functions, Rogers called himself the neighborhood candidate. He said this because he said that’s where he’s been — in the neighborhood and the community.
“I'm running for that teacher who continues to try to provide everything that she or he can to the classroom,” Rogers said. “I’m running for those parents who want their kids to have the best situation possible. … We have to start fighting for public education instead of fighting against it, because myself, I'm a product of public education, and people always are running and saying how they are for public education until it's time to give up money.”